Georgian MPs Begin the Process of a Constitutional Ban on Same-sex Marriage

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On Friday, 81 members of Georgia’s ruling coalition and a few from one opposition party, began the process of changing the country’s constitution to state that marriages in the country are only recognized between men and women. A 15-member committee has been set up to take public opinions for a month.

Georgian matrimonial laws are already heterosexual-only as the Civil Code reads that marriage is the voluntary union between a man and woman, but several members of Parliament cite a recent case for marriage equality filed before the Constitutional Court as a reason to pass the ban.

Their plan is change the constitutional language of article 36 from “Marriage shall be based upon equality of rights and free will of spouses” to “Marriage, which is a voluntary union of a woman and a man with the purpose of creating a family, shall be based on equal rights of spouses.”

Several critics of the measure say that despite agreeing that marriage should remain between a man and woman, the ban is unnecessary because of the current Civil Code and that it amounts to “legitimizing Russian propaganda”. They also accuse the government of using this as a distraction.

A supporter of the ban countered the mention of propaganda by claiming that the marriage ban would remove fears that the European Union would impose same-sex marriage on the country and back the fight against anti-Western propaganda rather than help it spread.

After a month of public consultation, the proposal will enter Parliament. To be successful, the ban needs three hearings held on two different sessions with a three-month interval in between them and at least 113 of the 150 MPs voting in favor. If the initiative is not passed in time for October’s Parliamentary elections, then the proposal will move into the hands of the newly elected Legislature.

For more information on the LGBT rights situation in Georgia, please visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_Georgia

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