Thursday, March 29, 2012

Albanian religious communities oppose gay parade

Albanian religious leaders on Sunday slammed a planned gay pride parade, with a spokesman for the Muslim community saying it would pose a "danger" to society.

"Such public demonstration is an abuse of human rights and freedoms and presents a danger for the morals and tradition of the Albanian family," Agron Hoxha told local media.

The Catholic Church also opposes the planned parade in Tirana on May 17, said spokesman Gjergj Meta, adding that "homosexuality is opposed to the natural order and the morals of society."

Most of Albania's population of 3.2 million are Muslims, but the country also has sizeable Christian minorities, both Orthodox and Catholic.

The Royalist party, part of Albania's ruling coalition, also opposes the planned parade, which will be a first in the country.

"Homosexuality is a sexual deviation, a vice, a misfortune or a curse that cannot be tolerated," the party said in a statement.

Albanian gay organisations announced plans for the parade on Friday.

Albania's traditional patriarchal society is deeply homophobic, and human rights organisations say gays face violence and discrimination.

Albania passed a law banning discrimination on the basis of sexual preference in 2010.