Perhaps to bolster its campaign to join the European Union, the government of Albania has proposed legalizing same-sex marriage.
Prime minister Sali Berisha told a cabinet meeting yesterday that the law was an important move against discrimination. Albania is deeply secular but is also one of only two countries in Europe which is predominantly Muslim. Religion was banned during the Communist rule between 1944 and 1990. Although the government has admitted the move is controversial, it is thought the law is likely to pass, as Berisha’s Democrats have a majority of 74 out of 140 members of parliament. The country is hoping to join the European Union. Until 1995, homosexuality carried a ten-year prison sentence in the country.
Living an openly gay life can be risky in Albania and the Council Of Europe last year called for improvements, citing widespread gay bashings and discrimination.