Pavel Astakhov’s comments come shortly after the Italian parliament passed an anti-homophobia bill and Rome’s mayor said he was open to same-sex marriage.
“Italy is the only country whose citizens have the possibility to adopt Russian children, because it does not recognize gay marriage,” said Astakhov, quoted in Italian media.
His comments come after Russian President Vladimir Putin in June banned adoption by gay couple in the country and foreigners from nations that sanctioned same-sex marriage. The legislation was enacted to protect children from “distress”, Russia Today reported.
The decision limits Russia’s options to have children adopted abroad, as countries across Europe are legalizing gay marriage. France was the seventh EU country to legalize gay marriage earlier this year, while the first same-sex wedding in the UK will take place in 2014.
But this appeared inconsequential to Astakhov, who said “our priority is to have children adopted within the country” rather than abroad.
Earlier this year, the Kremlin banned adoption by US citizens in response to the US government’s Magnitsky Act, which blacklisted Russian officials implicated in the death of an anti-corruption lawyer.