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Fresh bid to win same-sex marriage in Albania

Fresh bid to win same-sex marriage in Albania

  • The Pink Embassy calls on the government to eliminate ‘open discrimination against LGBTI persons’.
An LGBT+ bike ride protest in Tirana, Albania.

LGBT+ campaigners in Albania have called on the government to allow them to get married and adopt children.

The plea from The Pink Embassy organization comes after years of unfulfilled promises on marriage equality in the country.

Right now, the country’s Ministry of Justice is holding public consultations on two laws about the family and adoption. That prompted The Pink Embassy to renew its request.

However it may be a hard battle. 

A poll in 2015 showed 58% of Albanians would not vote for a political party that supports LGBT+ rights.

Despite the internal opposition, Prime Minister Sali Berisha announced in July 2009 that he supported recognizing same-sex marriage.

But an anti-discrimination law that passed the following February didn’t address marriage or civil unions.

After that, Albania’s official People’s Advocate, Igli Totozani announced in October 2013, that he would draft a bill for parliament to allow same-sex marriage. However, the process has stalled ever since.

Battling hate

Meanwhile, Albania has lagged far behind other European countries for LGBT+ equality.

European LGBT+ organization ILGA Europe gives the Balkan nation a score of just 31% for its gay and trans rights and protections. By comparison, the best performing country in Europe, Malta, scores 89%.

Prejudice and hatred is so high that in 2013, Prime Minister Berisha had to condemn vice-minister of defense Ekrem Spahiu who said gays should be beaten up with a stick.

Now The Pink Embassy says the government should eliminate ‘open discrimination against LGBTI persons’.

However, even the LGBT+ campaigners recognize the barriers they face. While they point out the current laws are ‘openly discriminatory against LGBTI people’ they also note Albania continues to hold deep ‘social prejudices about marriage’.

Meanwhile Albanian LGBT+ people do benefit from an equal age of consent for gay and straight sex. Moreover, the country bans discrimination in employment and goods and services and LGBT+ people can serve in the armed forces.