YEREVAN, ARMENIA – As LGBT rights become part of the European political agenda, opponents and supporters of are girding for the next round of the battle, likely to center on Armenia—a devoutly Christian country where church teaching holds more weight than elsewhere in Europe, which is desirous of becoming an EU member.
Although homosexuality is not against Armenian law, a recent study by Brussels-based rights group Ilga- Europe shows the country ranked third from last—behind Moldova and Russia—for its legal protections of LGBT persons. For example, Armenian law does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
It likewise does not recognize any legal form of same-sex union, and offers no legal provision for changing one’s gender. “It’s not in our culture to accept homosexuals,” Bishop Hovakim Manukyan of the Armenian Catholic Church told EU Observer.
“I mean, we don’t reject the person, but we reject the sin, and this is our freedom as Armenians. Our culture does not accept this.”