Church to mark IDAHOT with mass weddings for heterosexual couples


The Georgian Orthodox Church will protest against IDAHOT by marrying 400 opposite-sex couples (Photo: Pixabay | Public Domain)

The Georgian Orthodox Church will mark International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) with its own demonstration of ‘Family Purity’. The Georgia church will instead aim to hold 400 opposite-sex weddings across the region this Thursday.

This is not the first time that the Church has held actions in opposition of IDAHOT, which takes place each year on 17 May.

Back in 2013, a priest-led rally clashed with LGBTI rights demonstrators in Tblisi, the capital of the former Soviet Republic. The following year, the Church decreed 17 May as ‘Family Purity Day’ in Georgia. It has continued to celebrate its anti-gay stance annually since.

Last week, the leader of the conservative group, Patriarchate’s Chokhosnebi, told Netgazeti that 20 marriages were already confirmed in Tblisi. Zviad Sekhniashvili said up to 400 weddings would take place across the country (population 4million) as a whole.

Raids on Georgia techno clubs

Gay people face widespread homophobia in Georgian society, with the Orthodox church continuing to cast great influence over public opinion and politicians.

Last weekend, the police raided well-known techno clubs in Tblisi. Although catering for all ravers, Beka Gabadadze of LGBTQI Association Temida told GSN that the venues were LGBTI-friendly spaces.

LGBTI campaigners and human rights activists in the country will mark IDAHOT with their own demonstration on Thursday.

‘The Orthodox Church stands for the conservative values and promote pro-Russian rhetoric in Georgia,’ said Giorgi Tabagari of Equality Movement to GSN. ‘This encompasses fighting against the freedom of assembly, taking control of education, and getting involved in governmental issues. At the end of the day, this facilitates a crisis of secularism.

‘As for us, we are planning to protest irrespective of the radical groups that will probably attack us. We will hold a protest in front of Government building on May 17.’

More information on the LGBTI demonstration on IDAHOT – Together for Equality – via Facebook.

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