The country of Georgia reportedly may alter its constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman.
“At its session today the ruling Georgian Dream coalition made a decision about the parliamentary majority initiating constitutional amendments whereby marriage is a unity of man and woman,” said Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili on March 9, reports Interfax.
The new definition of marriage would be a break away from current Georgian law. The marriage article in the Eurasian country's constitution presently states “marriage is a voluntary union based on equality between the spouses.”
The Georgian prime minister does not consider the new measure to infringe on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender Georgians, saying “discrimination in any form is unacceptable.”
Kvirikashvili pressed for the bill’s passage, stating “the defense of such an important value as marriage should be guaranteed at the level of the country’s constitution.”
Opponents of the measure include Parliamentary Speaker Davit Usupashvili, claiming that the definition of marriage is not an appropriate concern for politicians. The speaker called banning same-sex marriage “not in the national interest,” citing “a lot of important topics” the parliament should address instead.
Georgia is a predominantly conservative Orthodox Christian country with broad support for traditional marriage laws, reports Eurasia Net. While there is currently no significant movement in the country to legalize same-sex marriage, many Georgians reportedly fear its eventual legalization.
Concern emerged in the Georgian public after the country pursued closer relations with the European Union in 2014, leading Georgians to believe they would be under pressure to legalize same-sex marriage. No such pressure has occurred, as the EU told Georgia that same-sex marriage is not a requirement for joining the bloc.
Many suspect the Georgian Orthodox Church to be playing a role in the new legislation behind the scenes. The Orthodox Church has been a vocal opponent of same-sex marriage in the past, though it has yet to comment on the pending constitutional amendment.