An Overview of Homophobic Statements by Leaders of the Georgian Dream Party
In October, 2012 parliamentary elections took place in Georgia. The winning coallition, while featuring some moderate and liberal leaders, can be safely described as non-sensitive to LGBT issue. Below, is an overview Homophobic Statements by Leaders of the Georgian Dream Party, who currently hold majority in the Parliament of Georgia.
Vice Speaker of the Georgian Parliament and a Georgian Dream MP from Batumi Murman Dumbadze is known for consistent use of hate speech against ethnic and sexual minorities. In his interview to Kviris Qronika newspaper of September 17, he stated: “Gays are sick people and they need medical treatment more than participation in elections… National movement now has to fight for the votes of gays; they have no one else left… I don’t know much about them, but sick people must be treated medically.” 
First Vice Speaker of the Georgian Parliament Manana Kobakhidze has as well caused number of controversies with her statements on sexual minorities. On November 24, 2012 Le Figaro published some of her homophobic remarks:
“Georgia’s [former] government considers the protection of minorities, including sexual minorities, to constitute a democracy... It appears that the country is trying to please America by protecting minorities and arresting people with alternative thinking… When somebody is trying to build a democracy by destroying our Orthodox ethno-psychology and ethics, who wants such a democracy? Everyone is considered to be an equal member of society in European countries. This is difficult for us to accept, because it goes against Orthodox ethics.” 
Following critical reactions, Ms. Kobakhidze accused Le Figaro of misinterpretation. The clarification she made however was even more outrageous than the statement she sought to deny. In an interview with NetGazeti, Kobakhidze explained that her words must be read in the context of the conviction of members of the extremist People’s Orthodox Movement:
“I have only said that these persons could also exercise their right to freedom of expression. Promotion of homosexuality and lesbianism was unacceptable for them, because it goes against Christian morality. They expressed certain views towards individuals with different sexual orientation. This is part of freedom of expression. Certain issues, which are admissible in Europe, are unacceptable for Orthodox Christian faith.”
When asked on her own views in the same interview, she stated: “As Orthodox Christian, I confess that within myself I may look differently at certain issues and may not like them. It is my right and neither the Council of Europe, nor the European Union, can forbid me from doing this. I do not want to be lesbian. How can somebody coerce me to be Lesbian?” 
Ms. Kobakhidze‘s consistent advocacy on behalf of a far right, neo-Nazi style group named “People’s Orthodox Movement” was in itself a source of much controversy. Members of this group organized violent attacks and pogroms against various minorities and used homophobic hate speech on daily basis. They were also known for using distinct far-right symbols and using Nazi-style salutes.  One of the best known instances of violence organized by this group took place on May 7, 2010 when the topic of religious extremism and violence against its critics was discussed in live public debates on TV Kavkasia, members of the group attacked some of the show’s participants outside the TV station. Some of the TV staff members were also physically assaulted, when a crowd of religious radicals burst into the TV studio.  Ms. Kobakhidze and Ms. Eka Beselia, Chairwoman of Georgian Parliament's Human Rights Committee, and an applicant of membership to the Socialist Group, initiated inclusion of the group’s members into the list of so-called political prisoners which was, in turn inscribed, into a general amnesty recently adopted by the Georgian Parliament, and which will result in imminent release of the members of the People’s Orthodox Movement convicted on charges of hooliganism and obstructing journalists’ work, in addition to attacking a peaceful rally of students in defense of minorities.
Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili himself has made number of discriminatory statements. Most notably, he praised newspaper Asaval-Dasavali, known for its far right views and consistent use of hate speech. Georgia’s Ombudsman’s Office, together with the group of Georgian NGOs monitoring media coverage of minorities, named Asaval-Dasavali as the worst offender of professional standards of journalism in 2011.
Vakhtang Khmaladze, MP from Georgian Dream and the Chairman of Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee, while expressing his view on a rally organized by my organization and LGBT rights activists on May 17th, 2012 stated:
“Protection of rights is one thing - if somebody’s right is violated, it must be protected - but promotion implies specific activities and ways of life, calling on others to act in a certain way. I am against promoting sexual minorities." 
Shalva Khachapuridze, Georgian Dream majoritarian candidate in Tetritskharo District: “It is my principled position that I will never attend a meeting at the hotel Radission Blu Iveria, because “blue” means “cisferi” (derogatory term for a homosexual in Georgian) in English. As a Georgian man, I will never enter the “hotel of gays.” 
 “Manana Kobakhidze: According to the US State Department Reports, Orthodox Christianity Obstructs Conservative Development of Georgia,” SaqInform News Agency (In Georgian) 06.06.2012 URL: http://saqinform.ge/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=6028%3A2011-07-06-11-55-41&catid=116%3Ainterviu2&Itemid=538#axzz1iaAyTwBl
 „Manana Kobakhidze: What Can I do if I am not a Lesbian?!“ Netgazeti (in Georgian) 26.11.2012 URL:http://www.netgazeti.ge/GE/105/News/14889/
 An example of their nazi-style salute can be seen on this photograph http://a.pix.ge/q/3n21i.jpg
 Georgian Police was criticized by rights groups for its insufficient reaction to violence practiced by People‘s Orthodox Movement. See, for example, “Merabishvili Vows to keep Police Away from Politics,” Civil Georgia 06.05.2010 URL:http://www.civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=22264One of the violent attacks by the group at Ilia University in Tbilisi can be seen in this report http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0SKl5rfFEs
“Will the Ombudsman Defend Sexual Minorities’ Rights?,” Netgazeti (In Georgian) 01.11.2012 URL:http://www.netgazeti.ge/GE/105/News/14299/