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Presidential Campaign in Serbia

in SERBIA, 25/06/2004

Homophobic statements from major politicians

Gayten LGBT - Centre for Promotion of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Human Rights, based in Belgrade, Serbia, brings to our attention the recent public statements made by presidential candidates in Serbia, concerning LGBT human rights.  

We believe that is important to inform the European institutions and public on the the violation of LGBT human rights and discriminatory/intolerant attitudes of the leading political subjects in Serbia.

Reaction on the public statements of presidential candidates in Serbia regarding gay and lesbian rights

The second round of presidential election in Serbia began one week ago. Citizens of Serbia will choose between the two candidates – Tomislav Nikolic (Radical Party) and Boris Tadic (Democratic Party). During their campaign, the presidential candidates have spoken, about gay and lesbian issues and same-sex marriage, among other topics.

Boris Tadic, recognized by the Serbian public as a representative of a democratic political option, advocates progressive liberal and democratic EU standards. One of his major advantages, that he distinguishes, is full respect and implementation of human rights in accordance with the principles of the UN and European policies.

In his public speeches, Mr Tadic has never expressed positive view of the gay and lesbian matters. The very existence and rights of gay men, lesbians and bisexuals has been recognized by this psychologist and so-called most democratic candidate as “anti-life politics”.

“I do not support the legalization of homosexual marriages and in general I am guided by the creed that I am only interested in pro-life politics. I believe that homosexual marriages provide the inadequate family environment for raising children. The legalization of same-sex marriages would allow the possibility for those couples to adopt children. Boys and girls need mums and dads, those are the reasons for not supporting legalization of such marriages.” (Source: Blic, June 8, 2004)

We assume that Tadic suggests that homosexuality, i.e. same-sex marriages, is „against life politics“, which represents a fascistic thesis implicating that homosexuals themselves as population and their rights should stay in the deep shadow of political disinterest and ignorance.

Perhaps Tadic presumes the inability and unsuitability of homosexual persons to have and raise children, and indirectly relates homosexuality with psychological disorders, despite the fact that homosexuality was officially removed from the list of psychopathological disorders, back in the 70’s. Maybe Tadic does not follow the modern course in development of psychology and human rights?

In many European countries same-sex marriages are legally recognized, together with raising biological and adopted children. So, how does Mr Tadic intend to adjust the local Serbian standards to those prevailing in Europe? The basic EU legal documents forbid discrimination against LGBT people, on all grounds. With his attitude, Mr Tadic is not encouraging positive changes in this area of the Serbian society.

Another presidential candidate, Tomislav Nikolic, gave the following statement on the same issue:

“I am against it. I was brought up in belief that if there is to be a marriage, there has to be a theoretical chance to have children. In a homosexual marriage, there is no offspring, and marriage is an institution established for securing children. It could be called differently, perhaps mutual living, but marriage – no. I don’t care who’s living with whom, but the state cannot endorse it as a family or marriage. (Source: Blic, June 8, 2004).

The Radical Party candidate, Tomislav Nikolic, in his public statements rejects any possibility for same-sex marriages to be legally allowed. Other flexible models of mutual living, such as registered partnership or common law marriage, cannot be applicable to gay and lesbian individuals. Any kind of union of same-sex partners, according to Nikolic, cannot be legally relevant or a subject of legislation and state protection. His vision of marriage is strictly heterosexual, with a main purpose to have and raise children. From Nikolic’s opinions can be concluded that he denies gay men and lesbians their rights to have children, as well as the possibility of adopting.

Radical Party is previously known for negative attitudes towards LGBT community, of which the most drastic one was appeal addressed to their followers to act aggressively towards the Belgrade Pride participants in 2001.

Other presidential candidates also made homophobic statements. For instance, Borislav Pelevic (Stranka srpskog jedinstva – Serbian Unity Party) and Marijan Risticevic (Narodna seljacka stranka – Populist Farmer Party), during their appearance on the popular political talk-show „Klopka“ (BKTV), openly threatened with physical violence to participants of the (recently canceled) new Gay Pride Parade in Belgrade.

The Serbian public has not responded to this and other intolerant, homophobic and discriminatory statements. What is of utmost concern is lack of reaction coming from non-governmental sector and human rights organizations, public figures and politicians (especially those of democratic provenance), media, public and cultural institutions. Obviously, there is a selective approach to minority groups’ problems and constant avoiding to deal with gay and lesbian issues.

Among political parties, even those of pro-European democratic orientation, there is no awareness and willingness to work on rights and problems of LGBT community. The same applies to public authorities and governmental institutions.

If there is a sincere intention with political subjects to accept and implement the European standards, as their political goals, then they must embrace the set of all human rights, including LGBT rights, as well as combat discrimination towards minorities.

We would like to bring attention of all international institutions and organizations to the violation of LGBT human rights. We stress the importance of full implementation of all European standards and rights in Serbia and expect fulfillment of those standards especially from the politicians who gain support from the European public as democratic candidates. Democracy cannot be partly applied, and we believe that there is a need for constant public awareness of eventual breach of these standards.



Kralja Petra 54, intercom GTN
e-mail: gtnlgtb@yahoo.com
gayten@gay-serbia.com
telephone> +381 (0) 11 2623159
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