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Russian Cabinet strikes down proposed law to ban transgender people from amending sex assigned at birth on official documents

Russian Cabinet strikes down proposed law to ban transgender people from amending sex assigned at birth on official documents
Russian authorities have rejected amendments to the country's family code, which would have enshrined in law a ban on marriage and adoption by same-sex couples, and restricted transgender people from officially changing gender.

The proposed laws, written by Senator Elena Mizulina, were focused on the rights to be the parent of a child, including changing the rules for deprivation of custody. If passed, the new family code would have taken custody decisions into the hands of the court, meaning that a parent would have to be found guilty before their offspring could be removed.

However, most prominently, the package of bills would have banned transgender people from amending their birth certificate. Without changing the birth document, it isn't possible to receive a new passport or other ID with a different gender.

Additionally, the law would also enshrine in the family code a prohibition against same-sex couples from getting married and adopting, despite it already being illegal.

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The bills were struck down by the cabinet, after a ruling by the country's Human Rights Council, which believed that the new laws could possibly infringe on the welfare of children.

The council's chairman, Valery Fadeev, told Moscow-based news agency RIA Novosti that such significant changes in legislation should not be hurried, and require a broad public discussion. Fadeev believes that family law is a very sensitive and important topic, and they need to be sure that changes don't make anything worse.

“Here, too, the question arises: how deep can public institutions get into the family? All this needs to be balanced. And in the center, of course, should be the rights of the child,” added Fadeev.

Speaking to Moscow's TASS news agency, Mizulina called it an “erroneous judgment,” claiming that the current family code allows the state “to invade the family in order to protect the rights of the child.”

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The package of laws was proposed in July, after the country's constitution was amended to officially define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The proposed bill would have amended Article 14 of Russia's ‘Family Code’, which contains the reasons why someone is not allowed to marry. As things currently stand, this article does not list two people of the same gender as an impediment to marriage.

Following the proposal, progressive Russian MP Oksana Pushkina revealed her opposition to proposed amendments, calling the changes “absolutely insane.”

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