Russia has opened an unprecedented criminal case accusing officials of negligence for allowing a gay couple to adopt.
The Investigative Committee said on Wednesday it suspected Moscow social workers of criminal negligence for allowing the boys to be adopted by the couple in 2010, AFP reports.
“Nothing like this has happened before,” said lawyer Maksim Olenichev of Vykhod (Coming Out) support group, based in Saint Petersburg, who is in talks with the family to represent them legally. While they are currently not facing charges, it is feared that if the government punishes the officials they could next turn on the couple.
“It could give the state the opportunity to demand the annulment of the adoption,” Olenichev said.
The Russian government is arguing that the boys, who are now in their teens, are being propagandized into “non-traditional values.” Russia made it illegal to “propagandize” to minors by discussing the existence of LGBTQ people in a law that has been used to crack down on demonstrations, Pride marches, and even, in one case, a children’s art show.
“This is the next twist in that law,” Olenichev said, adding a psychiatrist has declared the children are “developing absolutely normally.” The investigators have accused the couple of presenting “distorted ideas about family values, harming their health and moral and spiritual growth.”
Russia has banned Americans from adopting Russian children, as well as LGBTQ couples and single individuals living in countries that have marriage equality. Because same-sex marriage is not legal in the country, there is no law there banning gay adoptions.