Government to Finalize Marriage Definition after Elections
Prime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, stated at the Cabinet Session on Wednesday that the Government will countersign the President’s refusal to hold a national referendum that would constitutionally define marriage as a union of a man and woman. However, he said the Cabinet disagrees with the arguments provided by the President.
President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili, blocked the referendum bid on marriage definition on August 10, saying that Georgia’s Civil Code already specifies marriage as “a voluntary union of a man and woman” and adding that the country’s existing legislation bans any move to change the constitution through a referendum.
According to the President, when 20 percent of Georgia’s territory is occupied and two regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia are recognized as independent states by Russia, holding a referendum will give additional legal arguments to the occupying powers.
Kvirikashvili stated that the argument that a referendum cannot be held due to the breach of territorial integrity of the country remains disputable.
“We fully share the desire of the initiators of the referendum that the civil marriage is a voluntary union of a man and a woman,” said the PM, adding that the ruling party Georgian Dream (GD) was the first initiator of the constitutional amendment.
According to Kvirikashvili, due to the boycott of various political forces in the current parliament, the amendments have not been finalized. However, he noted that a constitutional amendment on marriage definition would be introduced “by all means” after the October 8 Parliamentary elections.
The PM also underlined that the argument according to which striving towards Western civilization implied legalization of the same-sex marriage is pure speculation.
“Europe wants us the way we are, with our traditional values,” he noted.
The move to hold a referendum was first brought up by an activist group led by Alexander Bregadze, Soso Manjavidze and Zviad Tomaradze, who gathered 200,000 votes and asked the Central Election Commission (CEC) to register their request for a referendum. The CEC sent the approved bid to the President, who rejected it and sent his order to the Prime Minister for countersignature.
The idea of constitutionally defining marriage as a union between a man and woman was first raised by the ruling Georgian Dream coalition. A draft resolution on amending the constitution was not put to a vote in May 2016 during its first reading due to a lack of quorum in the parliament.
By Thea Morrison
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