Putin has announced that Russia would not legalise gay marriage as long as he was in power. He made it clear that he would not allow traditional notions of mother and father to be subverted by “parent number 1” and “parent number 2”. 

During his two decades in power, Putin has aligned himself closely with the Orthodox church and has sought to distance Russia from liberal Western values, such as homosexuality and gender fluidity.

In connection with the above, he has announced sweeping changes to Russia’s political system, which were seen as entrenching his grip on power after his impending departure from office. One of the proposals in consideration is to add a line in the constitution that would define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Read the full article on US News: ‘There Will Be Dad and Mum’: Putin Rules Out Russia Legalizing Gay Marriage


Regardless of one’s views on homosexual marriages and gender fluidity, how legitimate is it for a state leader to align himself with the values and attitudes of a particular church? If the state leader is the democratically elected representative of the people, then it follows that his mandate flows from the choice of the people. From this, the state leader should then seek to execute the will of the people who elected him.

What about making changes to the political system to protect one’s political legacy after a scheduled departure from office? Certainly, with regard to a nation’s highest body of law, the constitution, there should be limits on political leaders amending it to suit their political agenda. Are there sufficient checks and balances to ensure that any changes are not unlawful or arising from the personal agenda of the state leader?

Questions for further personal evaluation: 

  1. Is it always illegitimate for a state leader to align himself or herself with the values of a particular church or religious organisation?
  2. To what extent is Singapore distanced from liberal Western values? What are these values and who determined them?

Useful vocabulary: 

  1. ‘subvert’: undermine the power and authority of (an established system or institution)
  2. ‘entrench’: establish (an attitude, habit, or belief) so firmly that change is very difficult or unlikely