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Russians voted yes on collection of 200 constitutional amendments, including same-sex marriage and Putin's rule

The referendum included over 200 constitutional amendments, and the way the ballot was formulated, it asked for a yes or no vote across the board.
Jonathan Bradley Montreal, QC

Russian voters supported a national referendum defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman. The referendum included over 200 constitutional amendments, and the way the ballot was formulated, it asked for a yes or no vote across the board, according to NBC.

People could vote either yes or no to the collection of asked people to agree to all constitutional amendments with a yes or no answer. Authorities had argued it was impossible to ask voters to decide on each change individually.

The referendum had one provision allowing Russian President Vladimir Putin to serve two more terms. Putin will be able to keep power until 2036. Another disallowed same-sex marriage.

Two-thirds of voters supported the measures. Golos, the Russian independent voting monitor, alleged the referendum was rigged. Results were announced in favour of the referendum with only one percent of votes tallied.

Russia did not allow same-sex couples to marry before the referendum, so it makes marriage equality a more distant prospect.

Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement that Putin is a “threat to the human rights of all.”

“Russia is tripling down on its attacks on the basic human rights and dignity of LGBTQ people by adding constitutional prohibitions against marriage equality,” said David.

“Putin and his administration used propaganda brochures leading up to the election promising a return to ‘traditional family values,’ using marriage between loving couples as a wedge to push through his nefarious agenda. It is shameful, manipulative and malicious.”

The LGBTQ community has long been discriminated and persecuted against in Russia.

A 2014 Human Rights Watch report found Russia experienced a rise in anti-LGBTQ violence after the country passed a law in 2013 that criminalized giving out materials about same-sex relationships to minors. More than 100 gay men were detained in camps in the Russian region of Chechnya in 2017. Pride events were banned in 2018.

The campaign to encourage people to vote in the referendum had some unusual tactics to convince people to vote. Prizes such as washing machines and hair dryers were given away to people who cast ballots.

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