Public initiative portal dismisses anti-pride bid

The Manabalss.lv political initiative portal has rejected a petition attempting to stop the Baltic Pride 2018, slated for June 9, from happening in Riga, reported LTV on January 2.

The portal says the petition, submitted by politician Valentīns Jeremejevs, a high-standing member at the Academy of Sciences, runs against the basic democratic value that is freedom of assembly.

Meanwhile Jeremejevs intends to pursue the attempt to prevent the Baltic Pride from taking place.

"I know people who belong to sexual minorities, including gay people, and they are absolutely against the pride as well," he claimed.

While Academy of Sciences head Ojārs Spārītis refused LTV an in-person interview and said that Jeremejevs' opinions are not those of the institution.

"It's hard to comment what caused his reaction. I can only explain it as his personal position.. His is not the opinion of the Academy of Sciences," said Spārītis. 

Edgars Tavars, the head of the Green Party (Jeremejevs is the head of its Riga office), likewise attempted to distance the party from this initiative.

The Baltic Pride 2018 will take place in Rīga, coinciding with the year of Latvia's founding centenary. The event takes place in the three Baltic capitals on a rotational basis. In the 2015 Riga Baltic Pride about 5,000 people participated from all the Baltics and abroad.

The LGBT association Mozaika meanwhile said that they had gone to court for three times in relation to various actions taken against the pride.

Among these is a 2007 Supreme Court ruling that a Riga City Council decision to ban the 2006 pride had been illegal. 

"I would therefore suggest they do something more useful, of more value to society," said Mozaika head Kristīne Garina. 

A Manabalss.lv proposal to introduce a civil partnership law allowing same-sex people to be registered as a couple, meanwhile, has garnered above 10,000 signatures needed for it to be submitted to the Latvian parliament, which would be obliged to review it as a public initiative. 

The initiative was started back in 2015, and is now in the phase of collecting an extra margin of signatures as some may turn out to be invalid. 

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