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Georgia to advance Russian-style ‘LGBT propaganda’ legislation

Georgia to advance Russian-style 'LGBT propaganda' legislation
Source: Video Screenshot

Georgia’s ruling party on Tuesday proposed new legislation to ban what it calls “LGBT propaganda”, in a further conservative shift that has drawn fresh comparisons with repressive Russian laws.

The plans came just hours after the government signed its anti-NGO “foreign influence” legislation into law, measures that triggered weeks of mass protests and Western condemnation.

Brussels warned Tbilisi last month that it was “derailing from the European track” by advancing proposals that run counter to EU values.

Georgian parliament speaker Shalva Papuashvili, a senior Georgian Dream official, on Tuesday announced the party was introducing legislation on “protecting minors and family values”.

The proposal “concerns restricting, in educational institutions and TV broadcasts, the propaganda of same-sex relationships and incest,” he said.

Papuashvili, who signed the “foreign influence” legislation into law on Monday, said the parliament this month would vote on the anti-LGBTQ proposals in a first reading.

Russia passed similar legislation more than a decade ago banning the promotion of “non-traditional” relationships to children.

It was slammed in the West as persecuting the LGBTQ community, but heralded by ultra-conservative lawmakers as a rejection of liberal Western values.

Moscow expanded it in 2022 to effectively outlaw any public representation of LGBTQ people.

Having initially pursued a liberal pro-Western policy agenda when it came to power in 2012, Georgian Dream has over the last two years intensified its anti-Western and anti-liberal rhetoric and positions.

Critics accuse it of moving closer into the Kremlin’s orbit and jeopardising Tbilisi’s bid for EU membership.

In March, Georgian Dream considered legal measures to ban gender-assignment procedures as well as same-sex marriage — which has never been legal in Georgia.

Opposition politicians said the latest initiative was an effort to marginalise them in the runup to October’s parliamentary elections, seen as a key democratic test.

“Georgian Dream thinks it will trap the opposition into a dilemma between backing the measures and losing the support of liberal voters, or opposing it and alienating conservative voters,” a leader of the opposition Akhali party, Nika Melia, told AFP.

On Monday, almost all of Georgia’s opposition parties formally signed up to a pro-European policy charter advanced by President Salome Zurabishvili — who is at loggerheads with the government — in a bid to create a united front ahead of the vote.

 

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AFP

Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.







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