By Alex J Davidson
Originally published on Advocate.com December 02 2013 4:00 PM ET
Italy, which refuses to recognize same-sex marriage, is now a beneficiary of that policy: It is now the sole country whose citizens are allowed to adopt Russian children.
Children Rights Commissioner Pavel Astakhov explained the policy to Russia's Interfax news agency Friday in the wake of a summit between the two countries.
"It turns out that Italy is currently the only country whose citizens are able to adopt Russian children because, first of all, this country refused to recognise same-sex marriage, which, for its part, does not require Russia to change the existing agreement, and, secondly, [the Italians] abide by the terms of this treaty. That is all," he said, according to Italian newspaper Gazzetta del Sud, citing the Interfax report. "It is not our fault. [Other countries] should work harder if you want international adoption to continue. Our priorities differ from yours. We generally prioritize the adoption of children inside the country."
The treaty to which he referred is a bilateral adoptions agreement that is currently in force. Russia has suspended such agreements with the United States and France, notes Russian news source RT.com. The treaty with the U.S. was revoked because Russian officials claimed they were prevented from investigating allegations that adopted children were being abused, and the French one was invalidated when the nation legalized same-sex marriage. Russia additionally enacted a law earlier this year barring same-sex couples in any foreign country from adopting Russian children.
Also this year, Russia infamously passed a law that imposes fines and possible jail time for so-called gay propaganda, which essentially amounts to any positive discussion of LGBT issues or identities in a venue that might be accessible to minors.
Coincidentally, Croatians just voted this weekend to ban same-sex marriage. There is no word on whether Russia will grant Croatia the same access to its children that is has granted Italy.
Contact reporter Alex Davidson on Twitter at twitter.com/adwildcat