In a June 17 interview aired on pro-opposition channel TV Pirveli, MP Irakli Kobakhidze, Chairperson of the ruling Georgian Dream party, said organizers of the upcoming Pride Week in Tbilisi “should have abstained” from planning the event.
“Given the whole context, this would be the responsible decision,” said the senior GD lawmaker. “However, it is what it is,” he added.
The ruling party chair denied attempting to please the Georgian Orthodox Church with his remarks, stating that he has “his own position” on the matter.
The Georgian Dream Chair also noted that his party, in May, discussed signing onto the agreement on LGBTQ rights, which 15 other Georgian political parties signed, though reiterated that the ruling party decided to abstain from joining the pledge in the end.
Giorgi Tabagari, Head of the Tbilisi Pride, a local organization uniting LGBTQ and rights activists, said MP Kobakhidze’s remarks undermine the Georgian Constitution. “We live in a country that is in deep political crisis, a deep crisis of secularism and is devoid of values – all of which can be read in Kobakhidze’s statement,” he said.
MP Kobakhidze’s remarks come after Levan Vasadze, the businessman founder of the ultra-conservative public movement – Unity, Essence, Hope, on June 15 gave a ten-day deadline to the Georgian government to cancel the nearing Tbilisi Pride Week, in order “to avoid giving an impetus for escalation and confrontation” in the country.
This year’s Pride Week in Tbilisi is set to take place on July 1-5.
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