Church Urges Government Not to Allow Tbilisi Pride

The first ever Tbilisi LGBT Pride Week is set to be held between June 18-23 to raise awareness about sexual minorities.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia stated in May that they would be unable to guarantee the safety of the participants of Tbilisi Pride if they carried out activities on Rustaveli Avenue or Liberty (Freedom) Square in central Tbilisi, as is planned by the organizers of the event.

According to the organizers of Tbilisi Pride, the ministry suggested they choose alternative locations for the events, such as a club or the stadium. The organizers rejected these suggestions. 

The Georgian Orthodox Patriarchate issued a statement on June 14, calling Tbilisi Pride of June 18-23 “absolutely unacceptable” and a “sodomite sin” and urging the government not to allow it.

Ths statement is as follows (translated from Georgian).

The patriarchate directly urged the diplomatic corps, international organizations and the public defender to be more cautious about the “very sensitive issue” for the majority of Georgians and not to encourage such events, which may cause confrontations and unrest.

"On 18-23 June there is a plan to organize so-called gay pride in Tbilisi, for the first time in the Transcaucasus, which we consider absolutely unacceptable.

"The lifestyle of LGBT persons is a sodomite sin and thus contrary to the Christian faith and traditional religious teachings, as well as the general morality.

"We underline that the Church sets itself apart from sin, but not from the repentant sinners, whom it embraces with love, and assists in reverting to God.

"Regrettably, certain LGBT groups and their supporters present information to foreign countries, as if they are under much duress and persecution, and receive significant funding based on this argumentation. They wish to present their activities as a fight against discrimination, while in reality, they work to popularize and propagate their way of life, aiming to officially, legally sanction it.

"When a small group tries to impose their opinion on the whole of the population, this, naturally, causes a sharp counter-action, and since their deed is a deliberate act to offend the dignity of the majority, to violate their choice, it is provoking disturbance and confrontation.

"We distance ourselves from all violence, but simultaneously, as we give ourselves a full account of the grave danger that holding of so-called gay-pride might bring, we call on the government not to allow such an event, which – as we can foresee – will result in a public disturbance.

"We also call upon any request from foreign embassies accredited in Georgia, international organizations, Public Defender and other institutions, to be more careful concerning this very sensitive topic to the Georgian people and not to encourage such activities in our country; by doing so, they would assist us in maintaining civic peace and show respect and support to our population", reads the statement released by Georgian Orthodox Church."

Photo: Tbilisi Pride/Facebook

By Ana Dumbadze 

14 June 2019 23:43