LGBT: Constitutional amendments are frightening
While many European countries legalize same-sex marriages, Macedonian government will even ban it with Constitution. Will Government’s proposal for constitutional amendments, marriage to be a union solely of one man and one woman, be a new cause of human rights violation?
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Opening the highest legal act of the state, Constitution, in times of political crisis, indicates extreme authoritarianism of those in power, demonstrating superiority, and it is frightening and should alarm us all, is the initial reaction of LGBT Support Center after the Government‘s proposal for constitutional amendments by which marriage is defined as a union solely between one man and one woman.
“Giving constitutional guarantee to marriage is totally unnecessary and is nothing more than an ordinary struggle for political points. Here marriage is already defined as a union solely between one man and one woman. It is done in the Family Law and the Law on Prevention and Protection against Discrimination. Legal regulation of the rights of LGBT people is a real need faced by any modern society. Marriage is just one form of common life through which these rights are exercised”, they say from the LGBT Center.
The state assures that there is no place for fear
Dusko Minoski, head of the Commission for Protection against Discrimination (KZD) for Inbox7 says members of LGBT community have nothing to fear because they will not be placed in unequal and disadvantageous treatment if marriage is defined as a union of one man and one woman.
“In the European Union there are different views on this issue, but prevails the one that the basic principle is actually a natural principle on which marriage is based, and it lasts today. The Commission sees discrimination when LGBT people would be hindered in the community to exercise the rights under the Constitution and laws in the area of education, employment, health, culture, social welfare”, said Minoski.
The Commission will not submit any objections to the Government’s proposal because, as Minoski says, constitutional amendments do not mean a step back in the rights of LGBT community.
From LGBT Center they believe this is a big step back and wait for the official text of the constitutional amendments on which they will adequately respond.
“These constitutional changes mean a very big step back, not only for the rights of LGBT people in Macedonia, but for human rights in general. However, the term “step back” means that you first need to be “ahead”, so we can go back. Our country has never walked the “step ahead”. In fact, we made the last step ahead back in 1996, when being a gay man started no longer to be a crime. We are still waiting for the second step, appropriate protection against discrimination, according to EU standards”, they say from the LGBT Center.
Macedonia prohibits, Europe legalizes same-sex marriages
According to the Ministry of Justice, as proposer of the amendments to the Constitution, marriage should be defined as “a union only between a single woman and a single man, which realizes the interests of spouses, family and society as family, marriage, motherhood, paternity and child care are among the most important moral obligations”.
“Marriage is faced with the challenges of modern times, attempts to redefinition, deinstitutionalization and its gradual marginalization. Thus defined marriage as a union solely between a single woman and one man will contribute the institution of marriage to be further acknowledged and promoted in our society. Moral, ethical and religious principles of all religions in Macedonia define marriage as a union solely between a man and a woman. For all these reasons, the state is to determine and protect the traditional definition of marriage with constitutional mechanisms”, says the rationale of the Ministry of Justice.
And while Macedonia bans the right to concluding same-sex marriages, Croatia became twelfth country in Europe that has recently legalized it. Although at the referendum held in early December 2013, a majority of Croats voted against same-sex marriage to be an integral part of the Constitution, yet on Tuesday the Croatian Parliament adopted the Law on same-sex life partnership.
“Environmental community is defined as a community of family life between two people of the same sex. Marriage, cohabitation, life partnership and informal life partnership are recognized as groups representing family life”, says the newly adopted Croatian Law on same-sex life partnership.
Apart from Croatia, same-sex marriages in Europe have been legalized in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Denmark, France, the UK and Luxembourg. From other countries in the world same-sex marriages are legal in Canada, South Africa, Argentina, Uruguay, New Zealand, Mexico and partly in the United States (U.S.). In Brazil, however, in part of the federal units same-sex marriages are legalized though, the National Justice Council in 2013 ruled that same-sex couples should not be banned from marriage and thus de facto such marriages are recognized throughout the state.
A secret kept for years
The world was shocked when in the late eighties of the last century it heard that the world famous actor Rock Hudson died of AIDS and that he was actually gay. A similar reaction followed the death of Freddie Mercury, lead singer of the cult band Queen. Twenty years later, dozens of famous politicians, actors, singers, athletes admitted being gays without having to make a fuss as for Hudson and Mercury. Elton John, Ricky Martin, Ellen DeGeneres, Jodie Foster, are just part of the world jet-set that have legitimized the relationship with their partners after their countries legalized same-sex marriages.
So did the Prime Minister of Iceland, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, who in June 2010 married writer Jónína Leósdóttir.
And the recent German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle in 2006 publicly admitted to being homosexual and lives with his partner, sports manager Michael Mronz. Westerwelle refused to go along with him on official visits, like one of Serbia because as he said then, he did not want to take his partner to homophobic countries.
Editor: Stojanka Mitreska