Azerbaijani MPs not to attend European debates on same-sex marriage
Azerbaijani MPs and religious leaders have spoken out against a debate on sexual orientation to be held at the Council of Europe next week.
Two members of the Azerbaijani delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Gultekin Hajibeyli and Sabir Hajiyev, said they would not take part in the debates.
"I am not going to take part in these discussions and I think it wrong to raise this issue in PACE," Hajiyev said.
The PACE debate, provisionally scheduled for 27 January, will discuss discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender self-identification and will propose the legalization of same-sex marriages in Council of Europe member-states.
"I have a very negative view of the debate. Yes, we have declared integration with European structures as our priority, but we must also protect our national and cultural values. This is unacceptable for us and we do not intend to copy everything that is adopted in Europe," Hadi Rajabli, chairman of the parliamentary committee on social policy, said.
"We have our own mentality and we must preserve our cultural values", he added.
The Caucasus Muslims Department expressed its opposition to the debates. They urged MPs to speak against the proposal not only during this session of PACE but in future too: "This is a great sin and Islam condemns such sinful acts."
The head of the Mountain Jews community of Azerbaijan, Semen Ikhiilov, also urged deputies not to take part in these discussions.
"Whoever raises these issues is insane. These people have no shame. Such actions are condemned by all world religions. Therefore, I am very negative about it," Ikhiilov said.
The Ukrainian council of churches and religious organizations have also protested at the planned PACE debate on the legalization of same-sex marriages.