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News 27 Aug 13

Gay Trippers Barred From Montenegro Churches

The two Serbian Orthodox churches in Kotor's old town suddenly closed their doors on Monday, as 2,500 gays on a cruise ship descended on the coastal resort.

Blic, 24 sata

The churches of St Nicholas and St Luke's in the Montenegrin coastal town of Kotor were closed from 1pm to 5pm on Monday, as a group of 2,500 gays from all over the world visited Kotor on a Mediterranean cruise.

Both churches belong to the Serbian Orthodox Church, which takes a firm line in opposing all public manifestations of homosexuality.

On the doors of the church of St Nicholas visitors could only see a paper stating that the church would be “urgently closed between 1pm and 5pm”.

The cruiser, the Celebrity Silhouette, reached Kotor from Dubrovnik in Croatia carrying 2,456 travellers who were taking part in an “all-gay cruise” trip from Venice to Corsica.

Although the visitors could not see the Serbian churches in Kotor’s old town, they suffered no other reported inconveniences.

“Although we do not have any jurisdiction to take care of the passengers, I can say that Kotor and Montenegro have passed the test on respect for difference,” Vasilije Kusovac, director of the Port of Kotor, told the daily Blic.

Montenegro has a mixed record on the issue of gay rights. An inaugural gay parade, named Seaside Pride, attended by an estimated 120 people, went ahead in Budva on July 23.

However, anti-gay protesters threw stones and bottles and a few participants were injured. Police arrested around 20 people suspected of attacking the marchers. After the event, one of the organisers said he had received death threats.

The pro-EU authorities want matters to improve. In May, Montenegro’s Anti-Discrimination Council supported a draft strategy aimed at improving life for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals over the next five years.

 

 

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