MOSCOW -- Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent constitutional amendments to the lower house of parliament for a crucial second reading.
The proposed changes include an amendment stating that marriage is between "a man and a woman," State Duma deputy speaker Pyotr Tolstoi told reporters on March 2.
The proposed amendment would enshrine the country's ban on same-sex marriage in the constitution, after Putin vowed last month that Russia would not legalize such unions as long as he is president.
Another proposed constitutional change would be to include a mention of "faith in God," according to State Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin.
Volodin said that one draft amendment states that "alienating part of the territory of the Russian Federation, as well as calls for such actions are not allowed."
The proposals also include a clause describing ethnic Russians as the "state-forming" group for Russia and the Russian language as the state language.
Last month, lawmakers unanimously approved in its first reading the sweeping constitutional reform bill put forward by Putin, just three days after the amendments were presented to the State Duma.
Once approved in second and third readings in the Duma, the bill will go to the upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, before being signed into law by Putin.
The bill is almost certain to pass in parliament, which is dominated by Kremlin-loyal lawmakers .
With the constitutional reform, observers say that the Russian leader may be laying the groundwork to hold on to power after his current term expires in 2024.
Putin, 67, has been in power as president or prime minister for two decades.