On 19 May, the first Pride March was held in Chisinau, Moldova.
By Cathy Kristofferson, May 19, 2013
I just saw this on twitter and cheered out loud:
First Pride March held in Moldova
I cheered not only because I was thrilled for the Moldovan LGBT community, but also for the bitter defeat this must be for Scott Lively, who has worked so hard for so long to deny our community its rights all over the world, including the former Soviet Republic.
A brief history of Pride event attempts in Moldova:
In Moldova, the Chisinau City Hall banned gay pride demonstrations in 2005, 2006, and 2007. On May 11, 2008, GenderDoc-M attempted to organize a gay pride parade in the capital once again. However, the bus which carried approximately 60 pride participants was met with opposition from extremist neo-fascist and other groups. The overwhelmed and outnumbered LGBT advocates called off the march. Moldovan police was reportedly present at the event; however they stood passively by a hundred meters away and made no attempt to help the trapped participants.
Today it is an historic day for people fighting for LGBT rights as well as a victory for freedom of assembly in Moldova. Civil rights defenders participated in the Pride march held outside the American Embassy. This year for the first time the police, who had in previous years stood by while activists’ lives were put at risk, guaranteed the security of the Pride participants. Around 70 participants from many different countries participated.
The Pride March was attended by the Swedish and the American ambassador, the EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy as well as representatives of ILGA Europe and the European parliament who held speeches in front of the participants and several local media.
The festivities began with the 12th Pride festival “Rainbow over the Dniester” in Chisinau. The program included a conference about the importance of good partnerships in the fight against discrimination, a flower-laying ceremony at the Victims of Repressions’ Monument as well as a theatre performance and other cultural events.
Today on the last day of the festival, the Pride March under the slogan “LGBT for Traditional Values” took place despite groups related to the Orthodox Church trying to cancel the march and calling for a counter demonstration.
Åsa Bergqvist, Programme Officer for Eastern Europe and Central Asia at Civil Rights Defenders said in response:
“We expect that the Moldovan authorities fullfil their constitutional obligations to guarantee the right to freedom of assembly, and their duty to protect all participants in the march.”
And that they did. This is such a great victory in the face of such huge internal and external opposition!
In 2011, Scott Lively, upon hearing that the Moldovan government had introduced an anti-discrimination law based on sexual orientation to Parliament, rushed to Moldava to combat his favorite enemy – ‘the Gay Agenda.’ He participated in a press conference on television and warned of “an outbreak of homosexuality” in Moldova.
He produced a 19 minute video outlining for the Moldovan Parliament just how to combat the ‘Gay Agenda’ and to defeat any and every measure that would bar discrimination against homosexuals. The video contains such gems as:
“I’ve been dealing with these laws all over the world and I recognize — as I said there in the lectures I gave and the media interviews that I gave — an antidiscrimination law based on sexual orientation is the seed that contains the entire tree of the homosexual political agenda with all of its poisonous fruit, and that, if you allow an antidiscrimination policy to go into effect, it essentially puts the power of the law and the government into the hands of gay activists and makes people who disapprove of homosexuality criminals.”
and now since today, my favorite:
“I guarantee you, if you adopt, if your country votes for the anti-discrimination law you will have a Gay Pride parade this summer, and it will be protected by the police, and the citizens will be able to do nothing about it. And that will be just the beginning.”
So, in 2011 Lively convinced the Moldovan opposition Communist Party to oppose the bill telling them:
“People who define themselves by voluntary sodomy — a voluntary lifestyle based on sodomy — now have the power to suppress and oppress people who are simply attempting to exercise their religious freedom and long-established traditions as regards family and human sexuality.”
Not only was the non-discrimination law thwarted but later in that year Moldova used its seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council to vote against the first successful UN resolution condemning discrimination and violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.
But then last year, a bill banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in employment was passed and signed into law taking effect January 1st of this year. And now Scott Lively’s Pride Parade prediction has come true, complete with police protection. I haven’t seen any world news of earthquakes or the sky falling so perhaps all the dire Lively predictions will be ignored and 2013 will be the year for gay rights in Moldova because as Scott himself said “That will just be the beginning”!