By Michelle Garcia
Originally published on Advocate.com September 11 2013 1:32 PM ET
The author of a proposed law to bar all gay and lesbian Russians from parenting children said gay people who speak out for LGBT equality will be the main targets of the policy.
Alexi Zhuravlyov's bill would deny gay parents the custody of their own children and could allow the government to remove children from the homes of gay parents. Zhuravlyov said he introduced this legislation after he saw a man in his hometown, Voronezh, who was given custody of his children after he came out as gay.
“It occurred to me that since we have a law explicitly prohibiting the promotion of homosexuality among minors, the Family Code should be amended in such a way that that if a husband or a wife professes a non-traditional sexual orientation, they should be deprived of their parental rights," Zhuravlyov said in an interview with Slon, according to Pink News. "The purpose of this would be to restrict the influence of such a person on his or her own children.”
He then said the government would not hunt for LGBT people but would only target activists who speak out for LGBT rights and expression.
"We simply aim to position the law so that it is on the side of the child, because children should not be exposed to propaganda by parents [who] profess it," he added.
He also likened LGBT people to thieves when asked about how he would determine who was gay, in order to carry out this policy.
“The clear signs are simple," he said. "Don’t you understand? Talk to a sex therapist, he will explain things to you. It’s not for me to explain to you, I’m not a doctor. There are ways to unmask a thief. I am not an expert on such matters.”
Last week, when Zhuravlyov proposed the bill, he said those with "nontraditional sexual orientations" are similar to drug users or child abusers, in that they are all reasons for the government to remove custody of children.
American activist and producer Harvey Fierstein said in July that some gay and lesbian families were already lining up an escape from Russia, after the so-called propaganda bill passed and seemed to only be a gateway to more stringently anti-LGBT laws.