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Ombudsman Nominee Says ‘Homosexuality should be Punishable’
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 31 Jul.'09 / 00:35

MP Dimitri Lortkipanidze, who was nominated for the post of Public Defender by parliamentary minority in which Christian-Democratic Movement is a leading party, said on July 30, that he believed homosexuality should be criminalized again.

“I think that homosexuality should be punishable in this country, because it is punishable by our [Orthodox Christian] act of faith. I think that one of the best means to fight against homosexuality will be if this act becomes punishable under the criminal code,” MP Lortkipanidze said.

He was speaking at a meeting of two candidates for the Public Defender’s post with a group of civil society representatives.

MP Lortkipanidze’s response triggered boos among some of the participants of the meeting. “That’s what I think about this matter and I do not know why it triggered such a reaction among you, but I can’t give a kind of an answer which may be favorable for you, but disastrous for me,” MP Lortkipanidze added.

He made the remarks after the both of the candidates were asked what they thought about the case, when a young gay man was expelled from the Georgian TV show after he made an on-air candour about his sexual orientation less than two years ago.

Another candidate, Giorgi Tugushi, who is most likely to be confirmed by the Parliament on the post as he is nominated by the ruling party, said discrimination against on the basis of sexual orientation was totally unacceptable for him.

Homosexuality, which was decriminalized in Georgia in 2000, is generally regarded as “immoral” and remains a taboo topic and closeted in Georgia.

One of the most recent case when the issue was publicly discussed on TV was in January, when then deputy head of the public broadcaster, Gia Chanturia, who is now an acting general director, used a disparaging term when referring to a male homosexual.

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