news 17 Dec 16

Montenegro Gay Community Marches for Same-Sex Marriages

Dozens of people marched the streets of Podgorica in the fourth Montenegro Pride parade, urging families to show support for their LGBT relatives.

Dusica Tomovic
BIRN
Podgorica
The Pride parade in Podgorica passed off peacefully. Photo: BIRN

Gay activists took to the streets of Montenegro's capital Podgorica on Saturday to demand that rights for sexual minorities, such as anti-discrimination regulations - and others rights still not enshrined in law - be implemented by the Montenegrin authorities.

LGBT groups called for a same-sex marriage law, the eradication of homophobia and transphobia, and the creation of conditions required to develop the LGBTIQ community in Montenegro.

The NGO organizing the parade, Queer Montenegro, hoped that by the end of next year, Montenegro would adopt a law on same-sex marriages.

Photo: BIRN.

NGO activists have already prepared a draft law for registered partnerships and submitted it to the Ministry for Human and Minority Rights for consideration.

The march, this year named "Family Values", also urged families to support their gay relatives.

"With this Pride, we seek support from those that we care about most, from fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, relatives. Support is lacking when they find out you're gay," the head of the organising committee, Daniel Kalezic, said.

Human Rights Minister, Mehmet Zenka, also attended the march and said support was needed, but mostly from families.

"Society in Montenegro has developed and now people are more aware. We have a good strategic framework and policies in this area," Zenka said.

Photo: BIRN.

The Montenegrin capital Podgorica was under tight security on Saturday ahead of the parade, the fourth since the event was marred by violence in 2013.

Hundreds of riot police officers were deployed to the city centre in the downtown area of Podgorica, where streets were closed to traffic since the early morning, but no incidents were reported.

During the first Pride march in Podgorica, in October 2013, more than 500 protesters, mostly football hooligans, hurled rocks and bottles at the several dozen marchers.

Twenty police were injured in the affray, one of them seriously. Among the 60 people detained, a third were under 18.

Homosexuality remains a sensitive issue in the socially conservative country, as it does elsewhere in the Balkan region.

Some surveys suggested that 71 per cent of citizens in Montenegro consider homosexuality an illness, and every second citizen believes that homosexuality is a danger to society and that the state should work to suppress it.

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