Georgia ruling party introduces anti-LGBTQIA+ bill

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Georgia’s ruling party presented a bill on Monday (25) restricting LGBT rights, a move seen by opponents as an attempt to increase its popularity ahead of elections in the conservative South Caucasus country, which is running for membership of the European Union.

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As a result, the bill would ban gender reassignment and adoption by same-sex couples, as well as ban “dating intended to popularize same-sex family or intimate relationships,” according to a summary published by the “Georgian Dream” party.

Mamuka Mdinaradze, leader of the party’s parliamentary caucus and a driving force behind the bill, said the law was necessary to protect “family values ​​and our future generations” from what he called “pseudo-liberal values.”

In a Facebook post, LGBT rights organization “Tbilisi Pride” called the proposed bill “homophobic.”

The country’s opposition has said the Georgian Dream’s anti-LGBT agenda is an attempt to bolster its support among conservatives and distract voters from economic problems ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled for October.

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The Georgian Dream is ahead of other parties in the polls, but has lost support since 2020, when it won a narrow parliamentary majority. In his briefing, Mdinaradze said the bill would likely be passed only after the elections.

A predominantly Orthodox Christian nation, Georgia is deeply socially conservative, with polls showing a large majority of the population disapprove of same-sex relationships.

In recent years, the annual Tbilisi Pride march has become a flashpoint, with far-right protesters attacking LGBT activists. Georgia’s constitution has banned same-sex marriage since 2018.

Georgia’s Interpress news agency quoted Mdinaradze as telling journalists that the bill could mean that Pride marches and rainbow flag displays would be banned if they were considered to promote same-sex relationships.

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