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Ruling party in Georgia proposes anti-LGBTQ+ law, mirroring similar legislation passed in Russia

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk March 26, 2024 9:52 AM 2 min read
Anti-LGBTQ+ activists clash with police as they try to interfere with a gathering of the LGBTQ+ community for the Tbilisi Pride Festival in Tbilisi on July 8, 2023. (Stringer/AFP via Getty Images)
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The ruling Georgian Dream party proposed legislation on March 25 to significantly crack down on LGBTQ+ rights in the country, in a move that analysts compared to similar laws passed in Russia.

The proposal, which was put forth by Mamuka Mdinaradze, the leader of Georgian Dream's faction in parliament, is the latest in a series of government measures that aim to restrict the rights of LGBTQ+ people in Georgia.

It follows the decision by Russia's Supreme Court in November 2023 to declare "the international LGBT social movement" to be "an extremist organization" and ban all its activities.

The Georgian government has previously attempted to pass controversial legislation mirroring laws enacted in Russia, namely the so-called "foreign agents" law that was scrapped after massive protests broke out in Tbilisi and other cities throughout the country.

The proposed anti-LGBTQ+ bill would ban gender transition and adoption by same-sex couples and forbid gatherings or the distribution of information "aimed at promoting" LGBTQ+ relationships.

Mdinaradze said the bill is necessary to "protect society from pseudo-liberal ideology and its inevitable harmful consequences."

Analysts in Georgia argued that the proposed bill, which Mdinaradze said would likely only be passed after parliamentary elections in October later this year, is an attempt to distract voters from deeper economic and social issues.

As the proposal was being discussed, political scientist Paata Zakareishvili said that Georgian Dream "want(s) to attract the right-wing, ultra-right, conservative segment of the population."

Referring to the bill as "another Russian law," Zakareishvili said that it was a similar tactic to comments from some members of Georgian Dream, including Prime Minister Irakli Khobakidze, that have warned the West is trying to drag Georgia into the war in Ukraine.

The warnings are an "illusion," Zakareishvili said, "done only to win voters."

Police in Tbilisi failed to prevent thousands of far-right counterprotesters from descending on the capital's pride festival in July 2023, resulting in fights and the cancellation of the event.

Kobakhidze, former Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, and other Georgian Dream officials have taken inconsistent positions on Russia and its full-scale war on Ukraine.

While he has condemned Russia's full-scale war and supported Ukraine's territorial integrity, the Caucasus media outlet OC-Media found that Kobakhidze publicly criticized the West and Ukraine much more often than Russia.

Russian courts convict first people under new anti-LGBT law
A court in Volgograd Oblast on Feb. 1 found a defendant known as Artyom P. guilty of “displaying the symbols of an extremist organisation” after he posted a picture of an LBGT flag online.
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