2021-07-14 10:03:00

Russia won't follow ECHR recommendation on same-sex marriage - deputy head of Duma committee

Moscow, July 14, Interfax - Russia will not comply with the recommendation of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to legalize same-sex marriage, because this is against the country's constitution, Mikhail Yemelyanov, first deputy chairman of the State Duma Committee for State-Building and Legislation, told Interfax.

"The European convention [on human rights] does not explicitly state that countries must recognize same-sex marriages. As for the ECHR, since the adoption of the constitutional amendments, all their decisions should be checked on the subject of compliance with our constitution. They know themselves that their decision does not correspond to our constitution, into which a provision stipulating that marriage is a union between a man and a woman has been specifically introduced," Yemelyanov said.

That means that Russia does not and cannot recognize same-sex marriages, Yemelyanov said. Moreover, where they contradict each other, Russian constitutional norms will prevail over ECHR rulings, he said.

"The Russian Federation does not recognize same-sex marriages. This does not correspond to the mentality of our people, its moral principles. So, the constitutional norms here correspond to how marriage is understood by the people. Well, and the Europeans are free to interpret the convention as they please. Just don't transpose this practice onto Russian soil," Yemelyanov said.

The ECHR judgement also talks about Europe and Russia having different values and reference points and questions the need for Russia to have membership in the Council of Europe, Yemelyanov said. "This is yet another attestation of Russia and Europe drifting further apart and the Council of Europe becoming a totally unnecessary organization for Russia," he said.

Pyotr Tolstoy, Duma deputy speaker and head of the Russian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, said the ECHR recommendation is politicized.

"The ECHR decision which supposedly compels Russia to recognize same-sex marriages has nothing in common with our reality, let alone Russian laws," Tolstoy said on Telegram.

"Neither the Constitution of the Russian Federation nor our country's international commitments give rise to an obligation to create the conditions for the propaganda of, support for, and recognition of unions between same-sex individuals," he said.

"Flimsy arguments and attempts to place pressure on our legal system will not work. Such extremely politicized ECHR decisions are no decree to us," Tolstoy said.

Earlier on Tuesday, the ECHR ruled that Russia's refusal to allow same-sex marriage violates the right to privacy envisaged by the convention on human rights and fundamental freedoms and recommended that Russia rectify its national laws.

The case was brought by three gay couples who have been denied marriage registration in Russia for over a decade. The ECHR found that Russia violated Article 8 of the convention (right to privacy and family life). Although the ECHR cannot impose a direct requirement on Russia to recognize same-sex marriages, the state should still find a compromise, the ruling says.