Story By: Elena Kalioglo, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
A Moscow gay couple with two adopted children have are seeking political asylum in the United States to escape persecution back home according to a Russian LGBT group.
The couple faced a furious backlash when it was revealed the two men, Andrei Vaganov and Evgeny Erofeev, were in a same sex marriage and one of them had been allowed to adopt with officials not realising he was married to a man.
Politicians demanded action and police arrested the officials involved on suspicion of corruption, and then called the couple in for questioning too.
As pressure grew for the kids to be taken away, they managed to escape from it all on a holiday to the US, and once there applied for asylum.
The couple were already in the spotlight when it was revealed they had registered their marriage in Denmark. They managed to adopt the two boys, Yuri and Denis, by only registering the adoption in the name of Andrei so that the officials had not noticed he was married to a man.
But the fact that the boys were brought up in a same-sex family was revealed after one of them was in the hospital with a suspected appendicitis. The doctor who examined the child was told by Yuri that he had two dads, and reported this to law enforcement agencies, according to local media.
Criminal proceedings were instituted against guardianship authorities for children growing up in a same-sex family and in the summer, searches were carried out in the apartment of the gay couple, as well as at the parents and brother of one of the men. Human rights activists said this was a blatant attempt to put pressure on the couple to return the adopted children to the shelter.
It included an early morning raid in which the door of the family home was smashed in, and the Investigative Committee also interrogated the parents of both men.
Given the increasing pressure and sad experience of communicating with the authorities as LGBT parents, the family said exile was now their only option, according to reports.
Local LGBT rights groups said they had appealed against the attempt to have the kids returned to the orphanage, but had been told their appeal had timed out, after which the family decided to flee to the US under the pretext of a holiday.
The legal adviser of the LGBT group Stimul and Vyhod, Max Olenichev, said: “The fact that the children remained in the family and did not end up in an orphanage is a good result.”
He added that the actions of authorities seeking to destroy a homosexual family were immoral and not legal.
He said: “These children are brought up by loving parents and have the right to live in a family where they are happy, despite the dense views of some conservative politicians.
“We urge the authorities to stop the criminal case to revoke their guardianship and create all conditions so that same-sex families, citizens of our country, can openly live and raise children without fear of discrimination.”
Today the whole family feels safe after they were given status of asylum seekers and they added that since the beginning of the school year, Yuri and Denis have started to study in an American school where they are fast adapting to their new life.
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