Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Russian President Vladimir Putin has reiterated his opposition to marriage equality.
“As far as ‘parent number 1’ and ‘parent number 2’ goes, I’ve already spoken publicly about this and I’ll repeat it again: As long as I’m president this will not happen. There will be dad and mum,” Putin said at a meeting Thursday with a commission discussing amendments to Russia’s constitution, Reuters reports.
He also endorsed amending the constitution to prevent same-sex marriages. “We need only to think in what phrases and where to do this,” he said.
His opposition to marriage equality is something he shares with one of his biggest admirers, Donald Trump. Trump has said it’s a settled issue in the U.S. due to the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling, but he has appointed judges who would favor overturning that ruling or at least undermining it. He has never personally endorsed marriage equality, and he has withdrawn his support for civil unions.
Putin’s Russia is a very homophobic and transphobic place, especially given the 2013 law that bans so-called gay propaganda — really, any positive mention of LGBTQ identity that would be accessible to minors. And Putin has largely ignored the persecution of LGBTQ people in Chechnya, a semiautonomous republic within Russia.
Trump has certainly worked on making the U.S. more hostile to LGBTQ people, with his transgender military ban, gutting of President Barack Obama’s policies providing antidiscrimination protections, arguing (through the Justice Department) at the Supreme Court that anti-LGBTQ job discrimination is perfectly legal, and numerous other actions.
The possible changes to Russia’s constitution appear to be designed to help Putin keep influencing the nation’s affairs even after he leaves office in 2024, Reuters notes. He has alternated holding Russia’s two top offices, president and prime minister, since 1999.