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Patriarchate against Gay Parade in Georgia

By Salome Modebadze
Monday, August 23
On August 20, the Patriarchate of Georgia addressed the Government of Georgia requesting that it prevent a gay parade being held. In a special statement released on its official web page, members of the Patriarchate asked the authorities to react to the rumours that such a parade would be held in either Tbilisi or Batumi. “With the blessings of His Holiness and Beatitude Ilia the Second we would like to state that in our 2000-year-old Orthodox Christian country bleed by the Virgin-Mary, it is absolutely inadmissible to let homosexuals publicise their life. Immoral sexual relations is the deepest sin and those who commit such a sin should be released from it by regret through confession and sacrament,” the Georgian Patriarchate explained in a statement.

Stressing these sins have been a natural part of life of humankind throughout ages, the patriarchate highlighted that they have never been permitted. “What is happening today is in complete disregard of this. We are obliged to warn both the supporters of the morally fallen and those with the right to legalise different immoral acts that they may face serious punishment endangering the whole nation,” the Patriarchate emphasised and explained that despite the negative influence of the 70-year communist regime, the majority Georgian society still strictly follows moral values (despite their confession). A gay parade, according to the Holy Synod would naturally be met by an acute reaction developing further into public conflict. “We would like to ask the Government to oppose the gays' public event – because it is a terrible sin, there will be public indignation, and we should follow God's blessed path leading to paradise,” concluded the statement.

Rumours that gay parade was being planned first emerged on Georgian internet forums around three months ago. The issue was discussed by opposition member Giorgi Khaindrava in one of his interviews with the Georgian press in June. Speaking again on the issue earlier this year, Khaindrava said that authorities were promoting the idea of holding a gay parade in late August aimed at “destroying major Georgian values”. The issue featured briefly in the campaign for Tbilisi mayoral office ahead of May's local elections, when then candidates Zviad Dzidziguri, leader of Conservative Party and Gogi Topadze, leader of Industrialists Party spoke out against the alleged plans. Rumours further intensified in recent weeks and the parade has been extensively discussed on internet forums and social networking sites.

“I can’t actually say that I spoke about a particular plan but I remember it was the time when “The Holy Crap” [by Irakli Deisadze] was the subject of public controversy. I then supposed what would happen if things continued that way…and I just suggested that we could soon face same sex marriages, whereby two boys at the altar with rings would be no longer be a surprise,” Gogi Topadze explained to The Messenger.

Unfortunately we couldn’t reach the President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili’s Press Service to obtain the President’s attitude towards the statement released by the Patriarchate.