GEORGIA: Orthodox Church Requests Police Protection For Man Who Filed Marriage Equality Lawsuit

You may recall that in May 2013 a mob of 20,000 rioters attacked a small gay rights rally in Georgia’s capital of Tbilisi. The attackers were led by priests from the Orthodox Church, which doesn’t want a repeat situation after a man this week filed a same-sex marriage lawsuit. Eurasianet reports:

In a first for the Caucasus, a Georgian man has filed a lawsuit for the legalization of same-sex marriages in Georgia, a conservative, predominantly Orthodox Christian country. With his suit, civil-rights lawyer Giorgi Tatishvili disputes the constitutionality of a civil law that defines marriage as a union between man and a woman.

Georgia’s vastly influential Orthodox Church requested on February 7 that Tatishvili be placed under police protection as his safety is at risk. Nearly three years ago, a mob led by priests violently scattered an anti-homophobia rally in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, and the violence damaged the Church’s reputation. Its governing body, the Patriarchy, distanced itself from the violence then and has now spoken out against what it described as likely attacks against Tatisvhili.

“Although we find his initiative, let alone the passing of a [same-sex marriage] law, condemnable and completely unacceptable, acts of violence are also unacceptable,” the Patriarchy said in a statement. Tatishvili has not responded. No date been set yet for the Constitutional Court to hear the case, but attitudes toward homosexuality are broadly negative in Georgia and throughout the Caucasus.

(Tipped by JMG reader Brandon)