UPDATE, 1/27/2017: The Russian Parliament voted today to decriminalize domestic violence.
Two of the “pro-family” lawmakers behind Russia’s ban on “homosexual propaganda” are now behind a bill that would “downgrade assault inside the traditional family unit from a criminal offense to a misdemeanor,” according to a report by Tom Balmforth of Radio Free Europe.
Many U.S. Religious Right activists have become enamored with the Russian leaders behind such “pro-family” policies, claiming that Russia is leading a resurgence of traditional conservative values in the West
The bill, which Balmforth says “is in keeping with the conservative values espoused by President Vladimir Putin and has been protested by antidomestic abuse activists,” appears to have strong support in the Russian Duma.
Olga Batalina, a parliamentarian with Putin’s United Russia party and an author of the bill, is a leader of the so-called “pro-family” movement in Russia and, according to the Associated Press, “championed the law banning the spread of propaganda of ‘nontraditional sexual relations’ among minors,” commonly known as the “homosexual propaganda” ban.
She is a “close ally” of fellow parliamentarian Yelena Mizulina, an author of the anti-gay law and one of its most vocal supporters, and joined with Mizulina in filing a slander lawsuit against a prominent gay rights activist and others for comments they made about the law. Gay Star News noted that Batalina even backed attempts to stop bookstores from selling gay-friendly literature.
President Vladimir Putin appeared to back the bill when he questioned government “interference with the family.”
Many American Religious Right activists have lauded Russia’s “pro-family” laws as a model for the world, and have particularly admired Putin thanks to his crackdown on LGBTQ Russians. Indeed, this faction’s love for Putin’s homophobia often leads them to either ignore or stay silent about the ways Putin’s government has marginalized non-Russian-Orthodox Christians by outlawing evangelism and backing anti-Protestant militias in Ukraine, his granting of permission for polygamous marriages and the imposition of Sharia law in Chechnya, not to mention his record of crushing dissent and stifling civil rights and democracy.