Anti-Gay Riot in Tblisi Tests Balance Between Church, State
While gay rights have been gaining ground in the West, they’ve been facing a strong backlash in many countries of the former Soviet Union.
Russia recently passed a law that makes it a crime to give information about “non-traditional sexual relationships” to minors.
Gay-rights advocates say the wording of the law is so vague that it can be used to ban gay-pride parades or, in fact, any public discussion of same-sex issues.
Homosexuality was a crime in the former Soviet Union, and it remains so in former Soviet republics such as Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.
The former Soviet republic of Georgia is contending with the aftermath of an episode of mass violence that took place in May. In Georgia’s capital city, Tblisi, a mob of thousands attacked a small group of people who were staging a protest against homophobia.
The leaders of the attack? Georgian Orthodox priests.
The episode raised issues about human rights in a religiously conservative country, as well as questions about the balance of power between church and state.