Tbilisi, June 14, 2019
The Georgian Patriarchate issued a statement today, urging authorities not to permit a planned LGBT event to go ahead in Tbilisi next week.
The Church’s statement notes that the event, planned for June 18-23, the first gay pride event in Transcaucasia, is “absolutely unacceptable.” At the same time, the Church also makes clear that any violence against participants is also completely unacceptable.
“The way of life led by LGBT persons is the sin of Sodom and contradicts both the Christian faith and the teachings of traditional religions and moral values in general,” the statement affirms.
However, while the Church takes a firm stance in regard to sin, it is always ready to receive all people with love: “We emphasize that the Church disassociates itself from sin, but not from the repentant sinner, who it comforts with love and helps return to God.”
Further, the Patriarchate takes issue with certain LGBT groups that make false claims of persecution in Georgia in order to receive international funding and present themselves as fighting against discrimination, though “in reality they are running publicity and propaganda of their lifestyle, setting out to have it officially legitimized.”
The Church clarifies: “When a small group tries to force its position on the entire population, it, of course, causes a sharp reverse reaction, inasmuch as it is a deliberate act, an insult to the dignity of the majority, and violence against their choice, provoking disorder and confrontation.”
But while the tactics of the LGBT groups cause a backlash, the Church further clarifies: “We disassociate ourselves from any violence and at the same time we are aware of the great danger the holding of a gay parade may entail, and we call on the authorities not to allow this event, when it is known in advance that it will cause public unrest.”
Finally, the Patriarchate calls upon the embassies of foreign countries, international organizations, and other institutions to take a more cautious approach to this tense issue and to cease encouraging such events; “they will thereby contribute to the preservation of civil peace and express their respect and support for our population.”
In the same vein, the Georgian Church has celebrated Family Purity Day on May 17 every year since 2014, coinciding with the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, which was launched in 2005. Mass wedding ceremonies are also held in conjunction with Family Purity Day, with more than 500 couples receiving the Sacrament this year.
The Patriarchate has also emphasized that this event has nothing to do with violence or hatred: “We note that this event is peaceful and it does not aim at any kind of aggression. It is the expression of our community’s support towards traditional values. The Church is distancing itself from any kinds of violence.”
The Georgian Church has even petitioned the Minister of the Interior to provide security to LGBT activists.
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