Georgia ruling party introduces bill restricting LGBTQ+ rights ahead of elections News
Filmbetrachter / Pixabay
Georgia ruling party introduces bill restricting LGBTQ+ rights ahead of elections

The governing Georgian Dream party announced a controversial bill on Monday aimed at curbing LGBTQ+ rights in the Transcaucasian country. The bill aims to combat what the party has called “LGBT propaganda” and proposes significant changes to the constitution. It seeks to prohibit sex changes, adoption by same-sex couples and gatherings promoting same-sex relationships. Observers note that the anti-LGBTQ+ agenda could serve as a strategy to rally conservative voters in the upcoming October 2024 national elections and divert attention from pressing economic challenges.

Georgia, which is predominantly Orthodox Christian, has long grappled with conservative social norms, exemplified by the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage implemented in 2018. The Georgian Dream’s executive chair, Mamuka Mdinaradze, stated that only marriage should be allowed between a “male and a single genetic female.” Furthermore, he emphasized the bill’s focus on safeguarding “family values and our future generations” against what he labeled “pseudo-liberal values.”

The proposed legislation comes amid a backdrop of political maneuvering, with the ruling party facing a decline in public support since its narrow victory in the 2020 parliamentary elections. In contrast, Tbilisi Pride, an LGBTQ+ rights organization, condemned the bill as “homophobic” in a statement on Facebook, reflecting the polarized perspectives within Georgian society. Tbilisi Pride has previously criticized the government for the “segregation of LGBTI people” in November 2023 for removing SOGI-related issues from the Human Rights National Strategy (2022-2030) and the Human Rights Action Plan (2024-2026).

EU officials tasked with evaluating Georgia’s progress toward membership candidacy face a dilemma. Granting candidate status could be interpreted as a political decision, especially amidst concerns about the government’s perceived alignment with Russia and its crackdown on civil liberties and human rights. The EU is closely watching, and in its 2023 Report, it noted that “several key issues remain … notably discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.”

The European Court of Human Rights ruled against Georgia in December 2021, in a case concerning an attack on LGBT protestors in the capital city of Tbilisi.