Georgia Parliament passes package of ‘unbearable’ anti-LGBTQ+ laws

Author: Donald Padgett

The parliament of Georgia on last week approved the first reading of a package of bills that would strictly curtail the rights of the country’s LGBTQ+ community, Reuters and Zona Media reported.

Introduced earlier this month by the ruling Georgian Dream party, the bill calls for banning the promotion of marriage equality or other same-sex relationships, defines gender as binary, outlaws “LGBT propaganda” and gender-affirming care, and prevents non-heterosexual couples and individuals from adopting children. The bill also potentially bans Pride parades, festivals, and public displays of Pride flags. The bill further codifies the 2018 amending of the state’s constitution defining marriage as between “a man and a woman” with the intent of creating a family.

In addition, educational institutions and media companies will be forbidden from “promoting the identification of a person with a different sex, same-sex relations, or incest.”

“The future for queer people in Georgia looks rather gloomy if the anti-LGBT bills are adopted,” Giorgi Tabagari, founder of Tbilisi Pride, was quoted by Reuters, saying life would become “unbearable” for the LGBTQ+ community.

Tbilisi Pride canceled its annual Pride celebration following fear of violent attacks like those that took place last year.

Related: Pride celebration in Tbilisi evacuated after violent extremists attack

Marriage equality is widely disapproved in the culturally conservative country with a strong Orthodox Christian heritage, but daily protests have gripped the capital since the recent passage of a “foreign agents” bill like those passed in Russia under President Vladimir Putin.

Related: Putin signs extreme anti-LGBTQ+ bill into law

Some see the bills as a move by Georgian Dream to placate its base.

“It is likely an attempt to consolidate the support of the socially conservative electorate,” Bidzina Lebanidze, senior analyst at the Georgian Institute of Politics, told DW News earlier this month. “This move aligns with a broader regional trend where parties, such as Hungary’s Fidesz leverage socially conservative policies to solidify their base.”

The bills will be subjected to further review and two additional votes before they are expected to be sent to President Salome Zourabichvili, an independent, for her approval and signature. Even if she vetoes the bill, parliament has a veto-proof majority in parliament and would be expected to override her veto as they did with the foreign agents bill.

Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Donald Padgett

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