Russia is known for its anti-LGBTQ policies — but until now, same-sex marriage was not explicitly banned in its constitution. On Monday, President Vladimir Putin submitted several proposed amendments to the constitution, including one that would define marriage as strictly heterosexual.
Putin first proposed amendments during a speech in January. Among the constitutional changes are measures that would reduce the powers of Putin's eventual successor, and his opponents view the move as part of Putin's plan to retain power after his current term ends in 2024.
On Monday, Putin presented an additional 24 pages of updated amendments. According to The Associated Press, lawmakers said one article pays homage to "ancestors who bequeathed to us their ideals and a belief in God," following requests by the Russian Orthodox Church to include a reference to God in the update.
Another amendment seeks to solidify Putin's longtime opposition to gay marriage by defining marriage as a "union of a man and a woman."
While Russia decriminalized homosexuality in 1993, Putin instated aon the dissemination of so-called "gay propaganda" in 2013. The law stigmatized the country's gay community and banned the distribution of information about homosexuality to children. Officials used it to justify banning gay pride marches and .
Putin has previously said the nation mustof homosexuality.
Other amendments aim to maintain Russia's military dominance. One article forbids future leaders from giving away Russian territories —such as Crimea, which was annexed from Ukraine in 2014.
Shortly after Putin's announcements in his State of the Union Address in January, his entire cabinet, led by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, announced their. The surprise mass-resignation followed Putin's proposal to give more power to the country's lower house of parliament, the State Duma, to choose future prime ministers. Putin's political allies hold a significant majority of the seats in the Duma.
Shortly after, parliament quickly endorsed the updated draft of the constitution, AP reports, which will go to a nationwide vote on April 22.
Putin, who has led Russia for over 20 years, has defined his rule byOrthodox Christian values and promoting conservative, anti-Western ideals. In January, Putin said he would not seek changes to the constitution that would enable him to seek another term.