Coalition for Equality Addresses Venice Commission on Amendments to Article 36 of Georgian Constitution

Georgian civil society organizations united in the Coalition for Equality released an appeal to the Venice Commission regarding the proposed amendments to Article 30 of the Constitution of Georgia, which provides a new legal definition of marriage. According to the draft amendments developed by the State Constitutional Commission, Article 36 of the Constitution, under which marriage shall be based upon equality of rights and free will of spouses, will include the following wording: "A marriage as the union of a man and a woman for the purpose of starting a family, based upon equality of rights and free will of spouses" (Article 30. The Right to Marriage).

The Coalition for Equality considers this wording unjustified and sends its own analysis and arguments to the Venice Commission. The appeal undersigned by eight member organizations notes that the Coalition for Equality welcomes some positive changes envisaged by the package of amendments, but simultaneously expresses concern over the restrictive wording that aggravates the rights of separate groups and limits the content and scope of certain rights.

The appeal to the Venice Commission reviews Georgia's legislative norms defining the concept of marriage; the existing reality and the consequences of legislative shortcomings; as well as political context that, as the Coalition claims, incites homophobic sentiments in the country and promotes discrimination against minority groups. The Coalition for Equality believes that instrumentalization of a certain group's rights for political purposes is a dangerous process and goes against the idea of a human rights-based legal state, while an attempt of political instrumentalization of human rights issues essentially hampers the process of establishing democratic values, human rights protection and emancipation of marginalized groups.

The Coalition members claim that the draft of constitutional amendments, which envisages abolition of a non-restrictive definition of marriage, is an attempt to essentially aggravate the constitutional standards and rights of LGBT groups. "While democratic states are proceeding towards legal recognition of LGBT couples and development of social acceptance, adoption of this constitutional amendment by Georgia aims at strengthening additional restrictions, prohibitions and discrimination against LGBT people," the Coalition says in its appeal to the Venice Commission.

The Coalition for Equality calls on the Venice Commission to urge the Georgian government and the State Constitutional Commission not to allow restricting the definition of marriage in the constitution and implementing the constitutional amendments contrary to fundamental values and human rights.   

The Coalition for Equality is an informal union of Georgia-based human rights watchdogs; since the day of its establishment in 2014, the Coalition has been involved in monitoring the implementation of anti-discrimination legislation, as well as oversight over the fulfillment of the fundamental principle of equality by the state.

Open Society Georgia Foundation (OSGF)

Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center (EMC)

Georgian Young Lawyers' Association (GYLA)

Partnership for Human Rights (PHR)

Union Sapari

Women's Initiatives Supporting Group (WISG)


Article 42 of the Constitution.  


JUNE 2018

Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30