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Armenian Lawmaker Claims Discrimination Against LGBTI Community Justifiable

LGBTnews interview with Tsarukyan parliamentary faction member Gevorg Petrosyan. Petrosyan is a lawyer by profession and a professor at the Yerevan State University  Faculty of Law. He is a member of the RA NA Standing Committee on State and Legal Affairs and Protection of Human Rights; in 2009 he held the post of the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs.

– Mr. Petrosyan, do you think any group is being discriminated against in Armenia or not?

– What type of discrimination are we talking about?

– Discrimination on any basis […] Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is the most talked about subject in any discussion on discrimination. Do you think that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity should be excluded by law?

– There is already a law in Armenia on equal rights and opportunities for  women and men. With regard to discrimination based specifically on sexual orientation, the answer to this question can be found in the verdicts of the European Court and in the decisions of the Constitutional Court: a differentiated approach based on justifiable grounds can not be considered discrimination. A differentiated approach based on sexual orientation or gender identity can not be considered discrimination, since the issue is related to and affects the upbringing of the young generation. I believe that a person with a non-traditional orientation should not work in youth institutions, schools.

– What is traditional? What do you mean by saying ‘traditional?’

– Traditional upbringing comes from our Christian teaching, from our Bible.

– There are atheists, other religious…

– I don’t know about atheists, but a traditional family is one created by a woman and a man.

– According to whom? You?

– According to the Constitution, the Bible, and, yes, me. These phenomena are completely alien to me – a man with a man, a woman with a woman… I don’t think I have anything else to add on this subject.

– You are an MP of the Parliament, a member of the human rights protection committee; it is assumed that you must represent the interests of people and protect their rights. There are LGBTI people in this society, whether you like it or not. Would you, as a lawmaker, be willing to protect their rights and interests or vote in favour of bills that would allow LGBTI people to exercise their various rights?

– If there’s ever such a bill, I’ll get acquainted with it and express my opinion, but I can firmly state that these issues are alien to me, the traditional family is the only acceptable one for me. Besides being a lawmaker, I’m also a citizen, I am an Armenian man, I am the head of a patriarchal Armenian family, and I will under no circumstances change my view.

– Are you claiming that you are unwilling to at least show tolerance towards LGBTI people?

– I can be tolerant towards many a thing, but if there’s a chance that this tolerance might shake the foundations of the traditional Armenian family or our society’s moral values, then yes, I’ll refrain from showing tolerance [towards them].

– One final question: if an LGBTI marriage bill is ever submitted to the National Assembly, would you vote against it?

– Of course I’d vote against it, with no questions asked.

LGBTNews reminds that Petrosyan caught the public’s attention several days ago after he threatened to break law student Armen Galjyan’s jaw for going to class with an unshaven face. Petrosyan also voted against the adoption of the new Law on Prevention of Violence in Family, calling it “law on ruining families.”