Georgia Prime Minister calls for constitutional ban on equal marriage
At the end of March, Georgia’s Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili introduced an amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman in the constitution.
The amendment allegedly purports to avoid “misinterpretation” of an anti-discrimination bill which was introduced at the same time. This bill would address remaining legal gaps in anti-discrimination legislation, including for LGBT people.
Six EU Member states have constitutional bans on equal marriage, including most recently Croatia, where a Church-led referendum mobilised enough support for a constitutional amendment. Other EU Member States constitutionally defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman are Bulgaria, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.
Michael Cashman MEP, Co-President of the LGBT Intergroup, reacted: “These are deeply unwelcome developments. Since the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 2000, Georgia showed a commitment to protecting LGBTI people from discrimination by changing its labour code as well as introducing legislation protecting LGBT people from hate crime.”
“Georgia should celebrate diversity and not return to a repressive and negative past. Now is the time for leadership on the issue of human rights of LGBTI people. The rights to equal protection of the law, and the right to live without fear.”
Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-President of the LGBT Intergroup and Member of the European Parliament delegation to the Southern Caucasus, added: “It is a disgrace that Prime Minister Garibashvili introduced this amendment at the same time that a bill closing the legal gap in the protection of LGBTI people was introduced. The amendment serves no purpose but to institutionalise discrimination against LGBTI people.”
“As equality is the defining element of an inclusive society, I call on the Georgian Parliament to vote against this homophobic amendment and continue on the road to equality.”