Organizers of the ninth Montenegrin Pride on Saturday called on the improvement of the rights of the LGBT community and full implementation of Same-sex partnership Law.
Organized by NGO Qeer Montenegro, Montenegrin pride took place under the slogan, “Love people” [“Ljubav ljudi”], as the LGBT and civic activist as the Government and political parties officials walked in the capital, Podgorica. Waving rainbow flags and carrying banners, Montenegrin Pride participants passed the parliament, the government building and the city assembly.
“Everyone must contribute to building a Montenegrin society in which all communities are equal. We must never consent to homophobia, violence and hatred,” Danijel Kalezic, head of Queer Montenegro, an NGO, said.
The ninth Montenegrin Pride took held under COVID-19 health measures, so all participants had to present a vaccine certificate, a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours, or a negative antigen test not older than 48 hours, or confirmation of recovery from COVID not older than six months and not more recent than 14 days.
The march’s securitry was handled by police deployed in the centre of the capital, Podgorica. Several top government officials attended the event, including Deputy Prime Minister Dritan Abazovic, Foreign Minister Dordje Radulovic and Minister of Finance and Social Care Milojko Spajic.
Representatives of NGOs and the smallest partner in the ruling bloc, Black on White, also attended the march, as did Ivan Vukovic, Mayor of Podgorica, from the opposition Democratic Party of Socialists, DPS.
Organisers called on the LGBT community to use their right to register same-sex partnerships in Montenegro, and urged the government to regulate last year’s same-sex partnership law with the rest of the country’s legislative framework.
In 2020, Montenegro became the first non-EU Balkan state to legalize same-sex partnerships.
Under the law, same-sex couples can enter into a legal union at their local registry office. The law also regulates mutual financial support and division of joint property in event of divorce and grants the right to social security and health cover based on their partner.
The law does not allow same-sex couples to adopt or foster children.
Despite recent official supportive words, homosexuality remains a sensitive issue in the still socially conservative country, as it does elsewhere in the Balkans.
Earlier surveys have suggested that 71 percent of citizens in Montenegro still view homosexuality as an illness and that every second citizen sees it as a danger to society and would wish the state to suppress it.