LGBT+ rights violations in Russia: a focus on marriage legistation


The Sphere Foundation ( is a human rights organisation that has been advocating for the rights of the LGBT+ community in Russia since 2011. We possess expertise in developing and coordinating programs for psychological, emergency, and legal assistance throughout Russia, as well as monitoring discrimination and engaging in national and international advocacy. We actively assist and support LGBT+ individuals and collaborate with other organisations that share similar objectives in various regions of Russia. Additionally, in response to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the Sphere Foundation has taken an active stance against the war.

On behalf of the Sphere Foundation, we express profound concern regarding the potential codification of marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman in the Czech legislation. As a Russian NGO we have experienced the influence of such legislation in our country.

The recent amendments made to the Russian Constitution in 2020, stating that the state protects marriage as a union between a man and a woman, reflect a troubling pattern of violations against the rights of the LGBT+ community. This pattern began with the enactment of a law in 2013 that prohibited the promotion of non-traditional relationships among minors, and it continued with the complete ban on promoting LGBT+ relationships in 2022. Presently, there are ongoing discussions regarding a comprehensive prohibition on transgender transitioning.

These policies significantly restrict and discriminate against the LGBT+ community, resulting in several adverse consequences:

  1. Legal discrimination: The constitutional amendment denies same-sex couples the legal recognition and protections granted to married couples.
  2. Stigmatisation and marginalisation: The laws targeting the LGBT+ community foster discrimination, prejudice, and social exclusion, leading to negative societal and psychological effects. Stigma is especially used in propaganda nowadays to justify the war in Ukraine and unite people around the flag.
  3. Impacts on mental health: The discriminatory laws and the hostile social climate contribute to heightened levels of anxiety, depression, isolation, and increased rates of suicide and self-harm among LGBT+ individuals.
  4. Brain drain and negative international perception: These policies may prompt talented LGBT+ individuals to seek more inclusive and accepting environments elsewhere, while the international community may perceive these laws as regressive and in conflict with human rights standards, potentially tarnishing Russia’s global standing.

It is crucial to acknowledge that these consequences are not exhaustive, and their full impact on individuals and society may vary. Nonetheless, they collectively contribute to the curtailment of rights, the perpetuation of discrimination, and the fostering of division within society.

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