The Republic of Macedonia has voted to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions.
Parliament has approved a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a ‘life union solely of one woman and one man’ in the south eastern European country.
The amendment also makes it extremely difficult for it to be overturned in the future, making clear that any changes to the law in marriage, family or civil unions must be adopted by a two-thirds majority in parliament.
The amendment was passed by a majority of 72-4.
While it still needs an additional parliamentary vote and presidential approval, it is very likely to become law.
‘Today’s vote is another addition to discrimination, violence and intolerance on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in Macedonia,’ said Gauri van Gulik, Deputy Director for Europe at Amnesty International.
‘Macedonia swims against the European tide of legalizing same-sex marriage and to growing European human rights norms on equality.’
Sophie in ‘t Veld , a member of European Parliament, said: ‘LGBTI people in Macedonia face severe stigma and are all too often faced with hate crime, to which authorities fail to react.”
‘The Macedonian government should realise diversity is the source of prosperity and social stability, not an obstacle for it.
‘Inversely, homophobia has never created a single job or indeed solved any other problem. Macedonia would be better served by following the trend of an increasing number of countries in Europe and the Americas where same-sex couples are legally recognised and protected.’