Kyrgyzstan Voters Ban Same-Sex Marriage

Radio Free Europe reports:

Kyrgyz election officials said voters have overwhelmingly backed amending the constitution to ban same-sex marriage and shift some presidential powers to the prime minister.

The two questions were among a package of 26 proposed amendments that voters in the mostly Muslim former Soviet republic were being asked to approve with a simple “yes-or-no” vote on December 11.

The Central Election Commission said 80 percent of voters backed the measures and just over 42 percent of eligible voters cast ballots. The amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman — a change that would effectively ban gay marriages — had garnered wide attention.

The measure parallels related legislation making its way through parliament that toughens punishments for promoting “a homosexual way of life” and “nontraditional sexual relations.” The bill passed a first reading in parliament but has not been given final approval.

While no same-sex marriages have believed to have been recorded by local marriage registries anywhere, some Kyrgyz same-sex couples may have gotten married anyway, through other means. The only restriction that was explicitly stated in the current constitution had been that married couples should be adults.

Neither same-sex marriage, nor homosexuality more broadly, have much support among most Kyrgyz and the issue has been condemned by some Islamic clerics and nationalist groups, who view it as Western values being imported into the country.

Kyrgyzstan has a population of six million. (Tipped by JMG reader Luis)