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Georgia’s ruling party introduces draft legislation curtailing LGBTQ+ rights

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TBILISI, Georgia (AP) — Georgia’s ruling party on Tuesday introduced draft legislation curtailing LGBTQ+ rights.

The proposals by the Georgian Dream are similar to laws enacted in Russia and come on the heels of the authorities adopting another law critics denounced as borrowed from Moscow’s playbook — the “foreign influence” law. It ignited weeks of mass protests and was widely criticized as threatening democratic freedoms and jeopardizing Georgia’s chances of joining the European Union.

If adopted, the bill will ban same-sex marriages, gender-affirming care and changing one’s gender marker in the official documents, adoption by same-sex couples, public endorsement of same-sex relations at gatherings and at educational institutions, and depiction of same-sex relations in the media.

The new initiative was announced by parliament speaker and Georgian Dream member Shalva Papuashvili just a day after he signed the “foreign influence” law into force.

The “foreign influence” law requires news media and nongovernmental organizations to register as “agents of foreign influence” if they receive more than 20% of their budget from abroad. It set off mass protests last month in Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi, and opponents have dubbed it the “ the Russian law ” because it resembles regulations in Russia that the Kremlin uses to crackdown on dissent.

Georgia’s President Salome Zourabichvili vetoed the bill, but the parliament overrode her veto, and on Monday Papuashvili signed it into the law.

Georgian Dream’s proposals curtailing LGBTQ+ rights could also draw comparisons to laws in place in Russia. The Russian authorities over the last decade also banned public endorsement of “non-traditional sexual relations,”gender-affirming care and changing of one’s gender in the official documents.

In the latest step against the already beleaguered community, Russia’s Supreme Court effectively outlawed LGBTQ+ activism by labeling what the authorities called the LGBTQ+ “movement” operating in Russia as an extremist organization and banning it.

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