The European Court of Human Rights has recently passed a judgment alleging an obligation on the part of Russia to ensure the legal recognition of same-sex unions. Sadly, as any keen observer of the ECHR’s activities over these past years would say, this hardly comes as a surprise. At this stage, one can confidently conclude that the judges of the ECHR are purposefully moving towards declaring same-sex “marriages” and adoption of children by same-sex couples a “human right”. By all appearances, the ECHR is deliberately pursuing a policy of obliterating the universal human concept of the family and traditional family values; screened with unconvincing legal rhetoric.
This is evident from the string of judgments it has passed over the last several years in pursuit of the same questionable goals.
For example, in its 2013 Vallianatos and others v. Greece judgment the ECHR declared discriminatory a Greek law on civil unions that was restricted to different-sex couples. In its 2015 Oliari and others v. Italy judgment, it claimed that Italy is obligated to ensure legal recognition for same-sex unions contracted abroad. Moreover, the Court passed judgments pertaining to the possibility for same-sex couples to adopt children.
Such judgments have a serious flaw to them; namely, that they are frequently being passed on matters outside the Court’s jurisdiction, as defined by international norms. The new “obligations” it saddles the states with–to all intents and purposes–are being weaved out of whole cloth with no basis in the Council of Europe’s Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms; the supposed basis of all its work. The Court is producing arbitrary interpretations that do not stem from the Convention and are often at odds with universally recognized legal norms. This, among other things, runs contrary to the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties; a foundational document defining the basic principles according to which intergovernmental agreements are to be interpreted in modern international law.
By imposing these fabricated “obligations” on other states the ECHR is usurping the role of national lawmakers–in effect, directly infringing on the sovereignty of independent nations and their peoples. Instead of an impartial monitoring body making sure genuine human rights are being observed, it becomes an instrument of political pressure, calculated social engineering, and ideological colonialism by certain quarters of the international elites.
Apropos, it is hardly a coincidence that, as uncovered in a report by the European Centre for Law and Justice, a significant portion of the ECHR’s judges are directly linked to organizations affiliated with George Soros. Russia has classified the organizations of the American billionaire as undesirable. Said organizations have, in recent years, been systematically taking an anti-Russian stance coated with a thin (and unconvincing) veneer of human rights rhetoric.
The new judgment pertaining to Russia is merely the continuation of the destructive policy to which the ECHR has committed itself. It is yet another step borne not out of the legal process, but rather of ideological lobbyism aimed at forcing European states to abandon their natural and inviolable notion of the family as the union of a man and a woman aimed at procreation; the one union serving as the cornerstone of any healthy society.
It is self-evident that the ECHR and Russia are pursuing two very different policies. Russia, on one hand, is committed to traditional family values and, following a nation-wide referendum, has unequivocally reaffirmed this commitment by including an obligation to safeguard these values in its renewed Constitution. The same commitment has been named one of the top priorities of Russia’s new National Security Strategy document, recently approved by the country’s President.
“In re-orientating human security to the prime position among Russia’s strategic priorities, Moscow is also throwing down the gauntlet of a new culture war. The 2021 iteration of Russia’s national security strategy clearly facilitates the securitization of Russian culture – a ‘manifesto for cultural conservatism’, if you will. In doing so, Russia clearly crafts its identity as an independent pole in the international system. References to ‘Westernization’ and the unscrupulous principles and immorality of Western culture throughout the 2021 strategy serve to ultimately carve new divisions between Russia and the rest. The strategy underscores the threat posed by the West to Russia’s ‘cultural sovereignty’ – namely attempts to ‘falsify Russian and world history’ – and in doing so highlights the potential for Moscow to turn further inwards on itself.”Rusi.org commentary, July 14, 2021
The European Court, meanwhile, is systematically pushing independent nations into normalizing same-sex relationships, rejecting the natural family as the norm, and undermining biological sex by adopting gender ideology.
Which of these two policies is conducive to the development and prosperity of a nation? It is quite obvious to any sane person, and Russian lawmakers are fully aware of the correct answer. As far back as 2015, in deliberating over the national strategy for the development of education, Federation Council Chairman Valentina Matviyenko announced that Russia was going to resist the Western trend of legalizing same-sex “marriages” and allowing same-sex couples to adopt children; noting that the latter might lead to “in effect, the extinction of humankind”. A very reasonable assessment, indeed.
It comes as no surprise that in recent years there have been talks, including among high-level officials, about the possibility of Russia withdrawing itself from under the ECHR’s jurisdiction and reconsidering its relationships with other international bodies enacting policies similar to that of the ECHR.
It is self-evident that decisions made by intergovernmental bodies that overstep their mandate are, quite simply, not enforceable and are to be ignored. However, this self-evident principle requires legal backing at the level of national legislation. In Russia, the necessary legal norms are now in place.
Thanks to the national referendum-backed amendments to the Constitution of Russia and the subsequent changes to its legislative provisions, we now have an option of introducing an effective legal barrier to counter the illegal attempts by international bodies to pressurize Russia, such as the recent decision against it by the ECHR.
The Constitution of Russia now openly includes marriage as the union of a man and a woman among the list of its constitutionally safeguarded values, while at the same time stipulating that decisions made by intergovernmental bodies based on international treaties interpreted in a way that is contradictory to its Constitution are not to be enforced in the Russian Federation.
Likewise, this year’s new version of the Family Code directly states that principles of international treaties interpreted in a way that is contradictory to our Constitution and the foundations of our country’s legal and moral order are not to be enforced. All of the above empowers us to reject the baseless demands of the ECHR.
It is reassuring that the Council of the State Duma of the Russian Federation passed a special statement, noting that the ECHR’s demand contradicts the Constitution of Russia, “is a cynical challenge to morality, historical traditions, and the socio-cultural code of all peoples living on the territory of our country”, and thus will not be implemented.
The Council’s reasoning is quite transparent and was clearly formulated by our country’s Constitutional Court as far back as 2010: “The family, maternity, fatherhood, and childhood, in the traditional meaning of these terms received from our forefathers, constitute the very values that safeguard the unbroken chain of generations, guarantee the preservation and development of the multinational people of the Russian Federation, and therefore require special protection by the State”. Without the family, we simply have no future.
This is why Russia chooses the family and traditional family values. And when viewed from the perspective of the whole of our civilization, that is the only choice there really is. And it is the right choice.
[Published and translated with author’s permission. First published on the Telegram channel of the Federation Council Ad Hoc Commission on Protecting State Sovereignty and Preventing Interference in the Domestic Affairs of the Russian Federation.]