LGBT rights in the Republic of Macedonia
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (June 2013)|
|LGBT rights in Republic of Macedonia|
Location of Macedonia (green), with Europe (green + dark grey)
|Same-sex sexual activity legal?||Legal since 1996|
|Military service||Gays and lesbians allowed to serve|
|No recognition of same-sex relationships|
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in the Republic of Macedonia may face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Both male and female same-sex sexual activity is legal in the Republic of Macedonia, but same-sex couples and households headed by same-sex couples are not eligible for the same legal protections available to opposite-sex married couples.
Law in the LGBT rights area
Homosexuality was outlawed in Macedonia until 1996, when the country decriminalized sex between people of the same sex as a condition for becoming a member of the Council of Europe. Macedonia is considering a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, which is considered likely as the ruling coalition has the necessary two-third majority following the Macedonian general election, 2014.
From 2008 to 2010 the Macedonian LGBTs were protected from discrimination in the area of employment. In the beginning of 2010 however, while revising the anti-discrimination law, the country's parliament removed sexual orientation from the list of protected grounds. Currently there are no laws protecting the LGBT citizens of the country from discrimination or hate crimes due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Recognition of same sex relationships
In September 2013, a proposed constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman failed to meet the required two thirds majority in the Macedonian Assembly. In late June 2014, the re-elected main party once again submitted the bill, this time hoping that the conservative opposition party, DPA, will provide the additional votes needed to pass.
In January 2015, Macedonian lawmakers overwhelmingly approved a constitution amendment that defines marriage as between a man and woman.
The gay scene in Macedonia is very small. There are a few gay-friendly establishments in Skopje and some bars organize "gay nights". The country itself is mainly homophobic. There are many stories about public humiliations, worker firings and even casting homosexual teenagers onto the streets due to revelation of their sexual orientations.
A survey carried out in 2002 by The Center for Civil and Human rights showed that more than 80% of the people saw homosexuality as "a psychiatric disorder that endangered families". About 65% answered that "being gay is a crime that warranted a jail term." Young men and inhabitants of larger towns are generally more liberal in their attitudes towards homosexuality than elderly people, women and rural inhabitants.
LGBT rights organizations
There are three main organizations and a support center working in the area of LGBT rights:
LGBT United (Macedonian: ЛГБТ Јунајтед) is a recently formed organization which works exclusively for protecting LGBT rights in the country. It organized the first ever pride week in Skopje in late June 2013 alongside the Coalition "Sexual and Health Rights of Marginalized Communities". The programme mainly included airing of LGBT-themed films.
EGAL (Macedonian: ЕГАЛ) is the oldest organization working in the area of gay/lesbian health issues. It's also one of the main supporters of the Dzunitsa film festival which shows LGBT themed films.
Coalition "Sexual and Health Rights of Marginalized Communities" (Macedonian: Коалиција „Сексуални и здравствени права на маргинализираните заедници“) works partially in the LGBT rights area and organizes different events for promoting equality. It worked on organizing the Skopje Pride Week in 2013.
LGBTI Support Center – (Macedonian: ЛГБТИ Центар за поддршка) is a subsidiary of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights of the Republic of Macedonia located in Skopje that works on changing the legal and social status of the LGBT I people in Macedonia through community strengthening, advocacy and free legal aid.
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012
According to United States' Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for Macedonia in 2012, the LGBT community is prejudiced and harassed by the society, media and the government. The report stated:
"Activists representing the rights of LGBT individuals reported incidents of societal prejudice, including harassment and use of derogatory language, including in the media and from the government. In November the Helsinki Commission's LGBTI Center was vandalized and two activists were attacked while hanging signs for the march of tolerance"
- EGAL official web page
- Coalition "Sexual and Health Rights of Marginalized Communities" official web page
- LGBTI Support Center official web page
- [dead link]
- Article about the need for protection of LGBT rights
- The Family Law
- "Macedonia rejects amending constitution to define marriage as one man, one woman". LGBTQ Nation. September 25, 2013.
- "Macedonia Moves to Rule Out Same-Sex Marriage". Balkan Insight. July 1, 2014.
- Lavers, Michael K. (21 January 2015). "Macedonian lawmakers approve same-sex marriage ban". Washington Blade. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
- Sinisa Jakov Marusic (2013-05-03). "Macedonia Gay Rights Record 'Worst in Balkans'". Balkan Insight. Retrieved 2014-04-11.
- https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:WOG_pB_910IJ:www.globalrights.org/site/DocServer/Shadow_Report_Macedonia.pdf+lgbt+rights+in+macedonia&hl=bg&gl=bg&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESg69raW02ZSY55ZtYvLZA4oOMeMj7kvpNZ0ufqUxME07AgQkEJmloWL39jrWobejTzauBR2JI_xZVbBUe-8AZlvhy2If6AB-e4D9q4OiknO0D2LcP-yTauhelzpMYY7tgbc6WPC&sig=AHIEtbRHM0J7aKjTYeZRvJZGdImty2mbfA Report on LGBT rights in Macedonia
- [dead link]
- Article about the Skopje Pride Week
- Program for Dzunitsa 2012
- Programme of the Skopje Pride Week
- "Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012, Macedonia". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 2013-04-26.