A Russian gay couple whose adoption of two children sparked criminal proceedings against social services officials have requested asylum in the United States, the LGBT group Coming Out has said.

Authorities opened a criminal negligence case against Moscow’s social welfare officials in July for allowing the couple to “form distorted ideas about family values in children” and “harm [the children’s] health and moral and spiritual development.” Russia banned gay adoption, along with “homosexual propaganda among minors,” in 2013. 

“Andrei Vaganov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev, who have two underage children, requested political asylum in the U.S.,” Coming Out announced Thursday.

Vaganov and Yerofeyev were vacationing outside Russia when police searched their and their families’ homes, prompting the couple to decide not to return home.

Maxim Olenichev, a lawyer at the Vykhod LGBT rights group, said the Russian authorities’ efforts “to destroy the gay family are immoral and not based on the law.”

“The entire family feels safe, the children went to study in America and are successfully adapting to new living conditions with the start of the school year,” Coming Out said.