Georgia’s parliament granted initial approval on Thursday to a series of bills that significantly restrict LGBTQ+ rights, including bans on the “propaganda” of same-sex relationships and gender reassignment surgery.

Proposed by the ruling Georgian Dream party, the legislation could prohibit Pride events and public displays of the LGBTQ+ rainbow flag. The bills passed with majority support but require two more readings to become law.

Parliamentary speaker Shalva Papuashvili indicated that the second and third readings would take place during the autumn parliamentary session, just before the general election set for October 26. He asserted that the bills are necessary to curb “LGBT propaganda,” which he claimed is “altering traditional relations.”


The proposed legislation also aims to prevent non-heterosexual individuals from adopting children and to block gender changes on ID documents. Public gatherings promoting same-sex relationships would also be banned. If enacted, the education system would be prohibited from promoting “LGBT propaganda,” and broadcasters would be barred from airing intimate scenes involving same-sex couples.

LGBTQ+ rights remain a contentious issue in Georgia, a deeply religious country where the Orthodox Church holds significant influence. Public opinion polls indicate broad disapproval of same-sex relationships, and Tbilisi’s annual Pride march has faced repeated physical attacks from conservative protesters. Same-sex marriage is constitutionally banned in Georgia.

Giorgi Tabagari, founder of Tbilisi Pride, warned that the bills would make life “unbearable” for LGBTQ+ Georgians, stating, “The future for queer people in Georgia looks rather gloomy if the anti-LGBT bills are adopted.”

The vote occurs amid political turmoil in Georgia following massive protests against a “foreign agents” bill that was signed into law earlier this month. The new measures are likely to exacerbate concerns from the European Union and the United States about Georgia’s political trajectory, following their criticism of the foreign agent law, which is viewed as Russian-inspired and repressive. The EU’s ambassador to Georgia mentioned last week that the legislation has effectively stalled the country’s EU accession process.

While traditionally pro-Western since its independence after the 1991 Soviet collapse, Georgia has recently sought to restore ties with Russia, which has implemented its own restrictions on LGBTQ+ rights. The Georgian government defended the foreign agent law as necessary to combat “pseudo-liberal” values imposed by foreigners and to uphold Georgian sovereignty. Opposition parties, many of which have been boycotting parliament, argue that the anti-LGBTQ+ bills are an attempt by Georgian Dream to appeal to conservative voters ahead of the autumn election.