Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday proposed a series of amendments to the constitution that included a mention of God and describing marriage as a “union of a man and a woman.”
Putin submitted a draft amendment to Russia’s constitution that would place a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, enshrining marriage as between a man and a woman in a conservative update to the country’s founding document.
His proposed draft amendment to the constitution would also mention Russians’ “faith in God” and name the country as the successor to the Soviet Union according to the Guardian.
The amendments would also proscribe the cession of Russian territory to foreign powers, deepening the conflict over the Kremlin’s annexation of Crimea.
The draft submissions have not yet been made public but were described to journalists in a series of briefings by high-ranking members of the Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament.
“For me, the most important proposal would fix the status of marriage as a union between a man and a woman,” Pyotr Tolstoy, a vice-speaker in the Duma, told reporters on Monday in remarks carried by Russian state news agencies. “And I am happy that this amendment has appeared under the signature of the head of state.”
The proposals are to be voted on by the public. If the changes are approved, it will be the first time since 1993 that Russia has changed its constitution.
The country is officially secular but Putin is close to the Russian Orthodox Church.
He has also spoken out previously against gay marriage and attempts by some LGBT campaigners to replace ‘mother’ and ‘father’ with ‘parent number 1’ and ‘parent number 2’.
“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,” he said.
Putin first proposed amending the constitution in January’s state-of-the-nation speech, saying it was necessary to bolster democracy. But his opponents have described those proposals as part of Putin’s ulterior motive to retain control beyond the end of his term in 2024, according to Fox News.
The parliament endorsed Putin’s draft in the first of three required readings last month and is set to give it final approval next week, setting the stage for a nationwide vote on April 22.