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Macedonian human rights activists say they will sue the country’s main religious group, the Macedonian Orthodox Church, for spreading hate speech and slender against homosexuals.
The Coalition of NGOs for the Protection of Rights of Marginalized Communities has expressed its outraged over the latest anti-gay statements made by the head of the Church, Archbishop Stefan, and Bishop Petar of the Pelagonija-Prespa diocese.
Slavco Dimitrov, a representative of the coalition that is planning the lawsuit, says that the statements were a “clear example of hate speech”, adding that Macedonia is a secular state that encourages diversity and tolerance.
During the festivities for Orthodox Christmas on January 7, the clerics connected gay marriage to the undoing of mankind.
“Imagine if god created only two men or two women… In that case history would have been very short,” Stefan told local media.
Petar’s separate media statement caused even more anger in the gay community.
“If we allow marriages between two men or women then we should also allow marriages between sheep, cows and all animals. This will lead us towards the end of the world,” Petar said. “We should not ruin the morality of the whole state just to please a handful of people.”
The heads of the five main faiths in the country last month launched an initiative to add an amendment to the constitution defining marriage as a union of one man and one woman and banning gay couples from adopting children.
“I regret that the main reason for the unification of the main faiths [in Macedonia] was hate instead of love and support, which is much needed in these times,” Dimitrov said.
Some human rights NGOs openly suspect that the constitutional changes are being pushed in coordination with the conservative government of the VMRO DPMNE party.
The government has not commented on the proposed changes nor on the media speculations that members of the ruling party are lobbying in the assembly in support of the amendment.
Civil rights group urges political parties to clarify whether they support or oppose Church-led proposal to constitutionally ban gay marriage.
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