A law banning "LGBTQ propaganda" not accepted by the Parliament of Georgia
LGBTQ propaganda ban rejected
Chairman of the parliamentary faction of the ruling Georgian Dream party Mamuka Mdinaradze said on May 3 that “the majority will not consider a bill to ban LGBTQ propaganda in Georgia.”
The project was initiated on May 2 by the anti-gay “Conservative Movement” party with the TV company “Alt-Info”, which is believed to be pro-Russian.
The main proposal was to amend the law “On meetings and demonstrations” to say that that “propaganda of non-traditional sexual orientation” is prohibited in Georgia.
The project said, in part:
- It is prohibited to hold meetings and demonstrations if they are directed or during which demonstrations and / or propaganda of non-traditional sexual orientation may take place.
- It is prohibited to hold meetings or demonstrations during which there may be any statements and appeals directed against any religious movement, discrediting and (or) contradicting the beliefs of persons of any religious sect and (or) during which any wars and propaganda of violence, inciting national, regional, religious or social discord.”
According to the amendment, violation of the law could result in a fine of three thousand lari [about $1,210] or administrative imprisonment for up to 25 days. An organizer was to be fined five thousand lari [about $2010] or up to 30 days of administrative arrest.
Explaining why the ruling party will not support the project, Mdinaradze gave the following arguments:
- “First, for legal reasons.
- Secondly, there is a pragmatic consideration: such a law may become more favorable for LGBT propagandists and radical forces that build their entire narrative around it.
- Thirdly, many members of our team believe that healthy propaganda should be opposed to unhealthy propaganda, and not legal mechanisms, with which certain claims can then arise”.
The position of the leadership of Georgia
The very announcement of the initiation of the project caused a scandal in Georgia. Although the project was ultimately not supported by the ruling party, many have no doubt that they initially supported this idea.
As in the case of the law “on foreign agents”, the initiative also came from pro-government quarters.
The government’s support is evidenced by statements of the majority of deputies, as well as open propaganda launched on state channels in favor of the new bill.
Over the past two days, the Imedi TV channel has devoted two long pieces on air to a sociological study conducted in the United States, according to which the number of people who identify themselves as the LGBTQ community has increased there.
On May 1, a story on this topic was aired on the Week of Hope analytical program – a discussion of the anti-LGBT movement in the United States took place. In the second story, aired the next day, on May 2, Georgian Dream deputies appeared on the Imedi newscast, expressing concern about the results of the study.
“The separation of advocacy and protection of rights is a very serious issue. It is necessary to distinguish between LGBT propaganda and protection of the rights of LGBT representatives. As it turned out, in a study of a very reputable organization, propaganda brings such results that because of it the number of LGBT adherents can increase,” Mamuka Mdinaradze, executive secretary of Georgian Dream, says in the story.
Konstantin Morgoshia, one of the leaders of the ultra-right pro-Kremlin movement and one of the initiators of the bill, is confident in the support of the government. He wrote on his Facebook page that he had “reliable information” about the support of the Georgian Dream initiative:
“I have unmistakable information that Georgian Dream, through its partner parties, will pass all the laws that we have been asking for and fighting for years!!! Among them is the law against gay propaganda!!!
This news made me very happy, better late than never! I have always said and I will repeat now – July 5 was the greatest victory of the Georgian people and the beginning of the end of liberalism in Georgia!!!”
Another “Russian law”
This initiative has already been called “another Russian law” that Georgian Dream is trying to adopt.
A law banning LGBTQ propaganda has been in force in Russia since 2013 and at the end of last year it became even tougher. Putin signed a law banning “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations, pedophilia and gender reassignment.”
Even before the law went into effect, bookstores and libraries were ordered to remove publications that might violate the law.
Georgian Dream continues to sabotage integration with the European Union and the new law is part of that plan, some political observers believe.
“If the law “against LGBT propaganda” is indeed adopted, then we can say without any doubt that the arrest of Nika Gvaramia, and then the proprosal of the law “on foreign agents” served only one purpose — to prevent Europe from giving us the status of candidate,” journalist Merab Metreveli writes on Facebook.
He believes that by initiating this law, the government is trying to kill two birds with one stone:
“On the one hand, according to the authorities, no one will come out in defense of LGBT people, but the adoption of this law will prevent the country from obtaining a status. On the other hand, it is already becoming a fact that Europe will not accept us because of this law, which at the same time further discredits the West here in Georgia.”
“Homophobia is the last refuge of political scoundrels,” political commentator David Zurabishvili said of this initiative.
According to him, if the government now tries to pass this law, it “is clearly sabotaging candidate status. There can be only one reason: a direct order from Moscow. All other options are out.”
However, the expert predicts that Georgian Dream is not going to pass the law at this moment. They will try to test the waters, observe the reaction of the people and try to pass the law before the elections, that is, by 2024.
“This, according to the authorities, is a game. They will present the opposition, civil society and the entire West as a “global party of assholes” before the elections, which, in their opinion, will be an unmistakable guarantee of victory.”
“I believe that in both cases the government will face a complete failure. In March, everyone clearly saw that the adoption of the law “on foreign agents” meant the rejection of the European orientation and transition to the sphere of Russian influence, and the Georgian people will always have an appropriate reaction to an attempt to betray the country’s strategic interests, no matter how the authorities frame it.”
Law Prohibiting LGBTQ Propaganda in Georgia