GEORGIA: President Blocks Anti-Same Sex Marriage Referendum Backed By The World Congress Of Families

Democracy & Freedom Watch reports:

President Giorgi Margvelashvili made it clear Tuesday evening that he does not support the proposed referendum about amending the Constitution to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The reason, Margvelashvili said at a briefing, is that there is already a proper definition of marriage in the Constitution.

With two hundred thousand signatures having been gathered, the Central Election Commission (CEC) last week gave its final approval, after which the proposal also required permission from the president and the prime minister.

This suggested referendum was registered on May 13 by Alexandre Bregadze, former Deputy Minister of Diaspora, Soso Manjavidze, former member of Alliance of Patriots Party, and Zviad Tomaradze, Director of the Demographic Society XXI. Now, they warn that they will hold rallies outside the president’s administration and take the matter to court.

The anti-gay referendum is backed by the World Congress Of Families, which held its convention in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi in May, when they elected NOM head Brian Brown as their new president.

Earlier this year the Orthodox Church requested police protection for a gay Georgian man who filed a marriage equality lawsuit, fearing a repeat of the 2013 incident in which 20,000 rioters led by Orthodox priests violently attacked a small gay pride rally in Tbilisi. In the video below, rally attendees attempt to escape the raging mob in a small bus.

RELATED: In 2013 Georgia signed a treaty with the EU which its then-prime minister called a “road map” to membership in the European Union. In 2014 the European Parliament approved a resolution which declares that any European country, including Georgia, is free to apply for membership once they comply with EU principles on democracy, human rights, and minority rights. In other words, don’t hold your breath.

(Tipped by JMG reader Luis)

  • Bruno

    Wow. A country where the leaders have veto power over one of these hate referenda. Not what I’m used to seeing.

    • Andy King

      Hopefully he has some influence over his people as well, lest they pass over the EU to (voluntarily, I’m sure) join Russia as its newest starving province.

      • Bruno

        I may be wrong, but I don’t think the people of Georgia as a rule are very favorable to Russia. Especially after recent times.

  • All I can say is thank the goddess it’s not possible to amend the U.S. Constitution by a mere referendum.

    We’ve already seen what happens in states that allow such, and it’s almost never something that protects or expands the civil rights of traditionally oppressed minority groups.

    • Hína Kemenduro

      It worked out well in Ireland though, where they amended the constitution, as a consequence of a referendum, in order to allow marriage for same-sex couples. I do not understand the legal issues, but the referendum was required in order to allow same-sex couples to marry.

      • Blake Jordan

        One exception does not make it a good method for making constitutional ammendments.

        • Francesjelder1

          <<hp. ★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★::::::!ir236m:….,……

        • avidreader

          It’s a standard way of amending a constitution so I don’t understand where you’re coming from. The people have the right to self-determination. If they don’t have the power to change the constitution – for better or worse – who on earth does then?

          If they didn’t, I’d still be saddled with a communist constitution, enacted by my ancestors.

          Not every country in the world is a federation and needs a convention to change it. Quite the opposite, really.

          • Blake Jordan

            And if they wanted to amend the constitution to require LGBTQ+s be imprisoned / executed?

          • Hína Kemenduro

            That would be a problem. There is always a tension between respecting the will of the people and restricting the implementation of that will when it turns to evil, as can happen, people not being angels. The idea of something being a “right” is one check on that, at least in law. One can also build in other checks (such as executive veto). Of course, governments can sometimes just ignore the law (especially when they have popular support), as was the case in the US with Andrew Jackson and the Cherokee… a truly tragic bit of historic horror… trail of tears being an ethnic cleansing and perhaps even an attempt at genocide.

        • Hína Kemenduro

          True enough, at least in the case of rights, I think, where, for logical reasons based on the meaning of the word “right”, you do not get to vote on the rights of another. In governing systems that use referenda in this way, I think that there are usually checks intended to prevent a tyranny of the majority. In the case of Georgia, they seem to have set up a “veto” power in the executive.

      • Cackalaquiano

        The Irish are clearly a far more decent lot than we apparently are.

        • Hína Kemenduro

          In this instance they behaved with great virtue. I am very pleased with them. I use the Internet to listen to their radio broadcasts, the ones from RTE. I generally like what I hear, but they have their problems, so it is no paradise there. No place is, I think.

        • NedFlaherty

          The Irish anti-equality religious superstitionists were relatively polite and well-behaved — compared to the hellfire-and-damnation Bible preachers of the U.S. — both before and especially after the vote. The public debates were so civil and courteous that, by American standards, it didn’t even seem like there was much of a dispute. Yes, there was, of course, but everyone was so level-headed and patient. If you didn’t speak the language and listen carefully, you’d be hard pressed to detect any difference of opinion (compared to the torch-and-pitchfork conventions in the U.S.).

    • KnownDonorDad

      We’d have had a nationwide Prop 8.

  • Lazycrockett

    Why is the country of Abkhazia striped? Yes that bothers me.

  • Do Something Nice

    I wonder how many leaders of former Soviet republics feel the same way bur are afraid to go against Putin? I wonder how long before the president of Georgia disappears?

    OT: The man who re plastered my ceiling was from Georgia. He was ruggedly handsome and scary looking at the same time – kind of like James Gandolfini,

    but scary and really muscular. If you saw him walking down the street, you’d walk on the other side. He was the sweetest man and very intelligent. I’m glad I got to know him.

  • another_steve

    A result of institutional religion, one of the most pernicious — perhaps the most pernicious force — in the history of humankind.

    When I am declared God, I’ll put an end to it.

    “Okay, you can stop now. What you believe is no better than what anyone else believes. Please take out your Scrabble sets and occupy yourselves with that, not me. Thank you.”

  • Cuberly

    OT: (sorry) Yep, it’s happened again. And this is one of the golf resorts he touts the most.

    https://twitter.com/kurteichenwald/status/763551940076670976

    • Lazycrockett

      But screwing over people who have done service for you is smart business practice to those at his rallies.

      • Cuberly

        “Smart biz practice”. Oxymoron equivalent to libertarian traffic jam.

    • I saw that. I sure hope anybody providing goods and/or services to the Trump campaign are demanding to be paid up-front. Extending any kind of credit or tab to Trump or any of his businesses appears to be an invitation to being ripped-off.

      • Cuberly

        Well his credit rating in the US is dirt, so he goes to Russia….surprise!

        Oy, trump is a train wreck and people will vote for him because Hillz is a “girl”.

        Tell me a good 99.9% of his supporters are terrified a white male wont be at the helm.

      • Snarkaholic

        Probably not. It’s like the girl who dates the school gigolo, while knowing his reputation, but believes that he won’t cheat on HER.

      • StraightGrandmother

        Well it is different if you are providing goods and services in a construction project or remodeling. In that situation if the owner doesn’t pay you you file a construction lien against the property, the real estate. If after you “Lien them” they still don’t pay you can foreclose on the property. Now I would not want to be supplying him glasses, dishes, chairs, food & booze, but from a contractor or materials supplier towards a construction or remodeling project, you do have some pretty good collateral (the real estate) to force payment.

    • Chuck in NYC

      Look, I get that it’s an important story, but this has nothing to do with Georgia, and even though you acknowledge it’s off-topic there are dozens of Trump posts here people can choose to put this under. So why not post it in one of those?

  • Lazycrockett
    • DaddyRay

      Watergate on Steroids

    • Bruno

      More resignations afoot.

    • DaddyRay
    • Oh FFS…

      Ecuador? Please do the entire world a solid and cut off Assange’s access to telecommunications at your London embassy. And please do remember, you are in fact giving asylum to an accused rapist. Who is apparently also attempting illegally to influence America’s upcoming election in which the alternative to Clinton is Donald Jizzmeister Trump — you know, the guy who thinks everybody south of America’s border shouldn’t be allowed into the country. Thanks.

      • canoebum

        President Correa of Ecuador is a fellow traveler of the (thankfully) late Hugo Chavez, and yet another acolyte of the Castros in Cuba. Until he’s gone, sticking a finger in the eye of the USA and the “imperialist forces” is just part of the landscape. He managed to change the constitution of Ecuador to lift the term limits of the President, so expect him to be there for a while.

    • Blake Jordan

      Russia is going full force to help steal the election for drumpf!!!

    • Frostbite

      After the last big reveal “numerous Dem orgs” should have shut their f’ing computers OFF until a thorough security sweep could have been done. Idiots.

    • William

      Stone needs to be arrested.

  • delk

    There is a lot of competition, but I think Brian Brown is the most hate-filled bigot on the scene.

    • Strepsi

      Orthodox priests in Georgia and Russia are worse as they incite actual violence, sadly.

    • NedFlaherty

      Brian Brown is indeed vile, but he’s no more than a part-time, un-skilled circus clown with only a few rusty tricks.

      The real villains are the religious sects — the Mormon and Roman Catholic bishops, and the evangelical Dominionist Protestants — who sponsor his group, endorse his work, and pay the bills when the coffers run low. That’s where the hate is truly concentrated.

  • sherman

    Georgians are proud of their land, which is varied and often beautiful. They have a story that long ago God held a meeting and handed out land to each group of people. The Georgians got there late and God said he was sorry, but there was no more land left. The Georgians pleaded that they had stopped to have a drink and were making toasts to him and please couldn’t he find something for them.

    God said that the only land he had left was the best piece, which he was saving for himself, Since the Georgians were so nice, he said he would give it to them.

    • Do Something Nice
    • Hue-Man

      The first tourists from Africa thought it was a pretty great place! Dmanisi, Georgia

      “Human habitation in the Caucasus goes back to the remotest antiquity. The hominin remains discovered in 1991 by David Lordkipanidze at Dmanisi, Kvemo Kartli (1.8 million years old) are the oldest found outside of Africa. Neanderthal remains have been found at Ortvale K’lde (1973) and elsewhere in the Caucasus (36,000–50,000 years old).”

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dmanisi

  • Bruno

    Maybe Dan Rather should run for president.

  • bkmn

    Gives me hope. This is major in a former Soviet bloc country.

  • Luis De California

    Had it gone to Parliament, it might have failed. Unlike other Legislatures, it takes 3/4 rather than 2/3 of the seats to get it approved. Though over 90% are not keen on the idea of same-sex marriage to say the least, the hesitant MPs are a mixture of: Those who say the Civil Code is enough like the President, those who don’t like the Prime Minister and ruling coalition using this as political leverage, those who don’t want to look bad in front of EU and called it a Russian scare tactic.

    113 needed to make this pass and the ruling coalition started out with 85 before many left and now they’re down to like 48 seats.

  • karen in kalifornia

    So the headline of the post is a tad misleading then.

    • No it is not. The referendum requires the assent of Georgia’s President and Prime Minister or it will not appear on the ballot. President Margvelashvili said no.

      Did you not actually read it?

  • JCF

    I think perhaps President Margvelashvili is looking longingly at NATO (and doesn’t want to do ANYTHING which would tend to make NATO say “you’re on you’re own w your comrades to the North”).

  • Scrupulous.Geographer

    Smart. They knew they were played by expansionist religious nuts, rightists and righties.

  • douglas

    That video was very disturbing. I cannot imagine the level of hate involved there. This would make most sane people stand up and say stop it. But religion attracts those with a narrow grasp on reality.