Russia's Latest Adoption Law – More of the Folly We've Come to Expect


Children play in their bedroom at a Russian orphanage. (Photo: Reuters/Vladimir Konstantinov/Newscom)

In a move ostensibly seeking to take society two steps backwards, National Organization for Marriage president Brian Brown visited the State Duma in Russia (their legislature) to lobby for a bill banning the adoption of Russian children by same-sex couples and by single people living in countries that allow marriage equality.

In his speech to the Duma, Brown said that gay adoption should be banned because every child deserves to have “normal parents,” and urged international solidarity in fighting against gay rights: “I think that this visit, the invitation to visit Russia, will enable the development of this movement around the world,” he said. “We will band together, we will defend our children and their normal civil rights. Every child should have the right to have normal parents: a father and a mother.”

First of all, as if it needed proof, studies show that gay folks are no worse at parenting than straight folks.

Second of all, now that Russia has banned adoptions by Americans, there are three quarters of a million orphans and vulnerable children in Russia. Estimating based on an even age distribution then subtracting for infants, that’s about 250,000 children under 5 years old. Russia admits it only has the resources to provide for 110,000 OVC. These rest of the children end up in gangs, jail or committing suicide. Who can argue that the more children we bar from loving homes, the more children we are sentencing to lives of destitution – or worse, death.

Five days after Brown’s speech, the Duma passed the ban into law. I wish I could pretend that this law won’t have devastating consequences for Russia’s children, but the reality is that the more we legislate to “protect” children, the worse off they end up being.

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