Last Wednesday, October 10, Kosovo had it’s second historical Pride Parade. It went through central Pristina between two main squares and was followed by music and entertainment. Supporters held rainbow flags and banners with phrases such as “In the Name of freedom. Pride Parade.”
The LGBT+ community has asked for more freedom of expression and non-discrimination, calling on society to be more tolerant and accepting of diversity.
Senior officials, diplomats and gay activists from the region joined the march, which was held without any incidents reported but under heavy police watch.
Hashim Thaçi, Kosovo’s President and the man who led the country to independence in 2008, shared his support to the community writing:
“Sexual orientation is up to the individual and should be respected.”
Best wishes from #Yerevan, to people celebrating love and human rights in #Prishtina today for #PrishtinaPride. Last year I attended the event that highlights the equality for all in our republic, together with @UlrikeLunacek & @USAmbKosovo Delawie. #LGBTQ #inthenameoffreedom pic.twitter.com/6M3uMEfHSL
— Hashim Thaçi (@HashimThaciRKS) October 10, 2018
He added: “Our constitution guarantees individual freedoms for everyone. LGBT and Pride Week will always have institutional support, to be free and secure to express their orientation.”
Kosovo’s parliament passed an anti-discrimination law in 2004, but gay couples still lack a number of basic rights. There is still the widespread anti-gay sentiment in the predominantly Muslim country of 1.8 million people.
Although LGBT+ rights have some political support, the legal status is uncertain.
Kosovo constitutions have two clauses related to marriage which contradict each other:
Article 37, which is written into the constitution, states that “everyone enjoys the right to marry.”
However, Article 14 states that “marriage is a legally registered community of two persons of different sexes.”
LGBT activists have called for Article 14 to be scrapped so that the European country can finally achieve marriage equality.
The push for LGBT+ rights comes as the country seeks closer ties to the European Union.
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, but Serbia and several of its allies do not recognise Kosovo as a country, though it is recognised by 113 UN members.
© 2018 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
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