The Macedonian parliament on Tuesday
approved a constitutional amendment which defines marriage as a
A final vote is expected to take place
later this week, though Tuesday's vote of 72-4 leaves little doubt about the final outcome.
The amendment also states that “legal
relations in marriage, family, and civil unions are to be regulated
by a law adopted by a two-thirds of the total number of Members of
Parliament,” making it more difficult for the country to recognize
gay couples with civil unions. A previous version of the amendment
outlawed same-sex civil unions.
Talk in 2013 of a Gay Pride parade
taking pace in Macedonia prompted the action. Some conservative
politicians and the Orthodox Church responded by calling for the
Sophia in 't Veld, vice president of
the Intergroup on LGBTI Rights, responded:
“The Macedonian government should realize diversity is the source
of prosperity and social stability, not an obstacle for it.
Inversely, homophobia has never created a single job or indeed solved
any other problem. Macedonia would be better served by following the
trend of an increasing number of countries in Europe and the Americas
where same-sex couples are legally recognized and protected.”
Gauri van Gulik, deputy director for
Europe at Amnesty International, echoed a similar sentiment.
“Today's vote is another addition to
discrimination, violence and intolerance on the basis of sexual
orientation or gender identity in Macedonia,” he
said. “Macedonia swims against the Europeans tide of
legalizing same-sex marriage and to growing European human rights
norms on equality.”
Gay couples can marry in 12 European
countries and more than two dozen allow civil partnerships.