Russian President, Vladimir Putin proposed a series of constitutional amendments on Monday to affirm God and traditional marriage.
The president, who last month vowed to defend traditional family values for as long as he’s in the Kremlin, first proposed amending the constitution in January during a state-of-the-nation speech, claiming it was necessary to bolster democracy.
The amendments would see God enshrined in Russia’s constitution, as well as a definition of marriage as the union of man and woman. As it currently sits, the constitution makes no mention of God or marriage as an institution.
However, Putin’s opponents have suggested the constitutional rewrite has more to do with the President maintaining power after his term ends in 2024 than affirming Christian values.
According to BBC News, among the proposed changes is “the inclusion in the constitution of a little-known body called the State Council. It’s believed this could be a possible future power base for Mr Putin. Other amendments will end up strengthening the power of the president.”
These sentiments, however, are not uncharacteristic of Putin, who in 2013, signed into law a bill prohibiting the public promotion of homosexuality in Russia. The federal law is titled, “Purpose of Protecting Children from Information Advocating for a Denial of Traditional Family Values.” The law has also been dubbed the “Gay Propaganda Law.”
According to Reuters, Putin has closely aligned himself with the Orthodox Church during his two decades in the Kremlin. He has also sought to distance Russia from liberal Western values, including attitudes towards homosexuality and gender fluidity.