Georgian President rejects referendum on defining marriage


August 10, 2016


The President of Georgia says no referendum will take
place in Georgia to define marriage in the Georgian
Constitution as the union of a man and a woman.

President Giorgi Margvelashvili named two major reasons
yesterday why he was against conducting the referendum
pushed forward by an initiative group composed of several,
mainly non-parliamentary and non-government people.

The President said the occupation of 20 percent of the
Georgian territory and current Georgian legislation
encouraged him to reject the referendum, despite the fact
the group managed to obtain more than 200.000 signatures
regarding the note in the Constitution:

“Our legislation says that a referendum must cover
the whole territory of Georgia. I, as a guarantee of
Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, am
obliged to first of all defend the country’s unity
and sovereignty,” the President said.

In the situation since the Russo-Georgian war in 2008
Russia has recognised Georgian regions of Abkhazia and
Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) as independent republics
therefore conducting the referendum without the
participation of these two de-facto regions will give the
occupants an additional legal argument,”
Margvelashvili added.

As a second argument the President stressed the Georgian
legislation prohibited conducting referendums on legal

Consequently, the President stressed the Parliament of
Georgia and not a referendum must decide whether the term
marriage is defined as the union of only a man and a woman
in the Constitution or not.

“Herewith, Georgian legislation already says that
marriage is the voluntary union of a man and a
woman,” the President said.

The initiative group grilled the President for his
statement today and said they would now launch a petition
that calls for the resignation of President

Georgia’s Central Election Commission (CEC)
addressed the President to discuss the initiative
group’s appeal over the definition of the term
marriage on July 30 after the group presented its signed
petition urging for amendments to the Constitution.

The President had 30 days to discuss the appeal. If the
President accepted the initiative his consent must then be
approved by the Prime Minister.

The last referendum in Georgia was held in 2003 which
decreased the number of Georgian lawmakers from 250 to
150. The referendum was not held in the de facto regions
but at that time the areas were not yet recognised as
independent republics by Russia.

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