Montenegro will push for rights for gay and lesbian couples and hold its first gay pride, the deputy prime minister has promised.
Dusko Markovic, deputy prime minister of Montenegro who has particular responsibility for human rights, was speaking at the Out on the Street summit on LGBT global workplace rights in London today (13 November).
While he stopped short of promising marriage equality or even civil partnerships, he did pledge to improve the legal status of same-sex couples, Gay Star News can reveal.
And he said his government would fight homophobia so nobody lived in fear.
Markovic said: ‘Our government will contribute the best to promoting the rights of LGBT persons in Montenegro. Both by awareness raising of homophobia and the training of staff in institutions, especially the police and prosecutors’ office and the protection the rights of these people.
‘Our policy is clear, there should be nobody in Montenegro who should be living in fear and being invisible.
‘To that end the government will launch a strategy to fight homophobia and will launch a project to improve the legal status of same-sex couples in society.
‘In addition we are providing for all the pre-requisites for the first pride parade to be organized in Montenegro.’
Markovic’s speech pushed the message that Montenegro wanted to be seen as a responsible state, ready to get full membership of the European Union and NATO.
He said they were already leaders on lesbian, gay, bi and trans issues in the Western Balkans. They have already gathered 11 neighboring countries together for the first gay rights summit of its kind in the region.
Markovic admitted homophobia still existed in his country: ‘I do not want to hide, we do have such an issue in Montenegro as well. This is a problem of the clash between traditional stereotypes and the anti-discrimination principle, between conservatism and integration.’
And he warned the country was only at the start of the process and changing hearts and minds can’t happen overnight and would need ‘open dialogue’.
But he said they were keen to improve, support joint efforts and learn from the others.
‘Solely in company of the better can we become better. Count on us as your allies. This is our future and vision we would like to build together.’