Third GayFest begins in Bucharest

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Bucharest GayFest, organised annually by ACCEPT, is the largest LGBT festival in Romania

The third edition of Bucharest's gay pride festival, GayFest, opened yesterday, May 30. The festival, which will last until June 4, consists of a series of LGBT cultural events, including film screenings, theatre and photographic exhibitions, as well as public debates about LGBT issues, and a gay pride parade on June 3, expected to attract hundreds of people. GayFest is organised by ACCEPT, Romania's largest LGBT organisation, and supported by the Romanian Government and Ministry of Health, as well as various private organisations.

The main theme of the third GayFest is the legalisation of same-sex civil unions and marriages in Romania. Florin Buhuceanu, the executive manager of ACCEPT, said that, "The time has come for Romania to acknowledge the rights of all its citizens. Guaranteeing the equality of rights through the recognition of gay marriage... is just a step forward." He added that, "The [GayFest] activities mark the most focused drive yet to change opinions on gay marriage in Romania." Same-sex couples currently have no legal recognition in Romania. Legalisation of either civil unions or marriage between people of the same sex would be possible through an amendment of the Family Code, if approved by a majority in parliament.

On May 3, hundreds of LGBT people are expected to take part in the pride parade through the streets of Bucharest, a key part of the GayFest

Last year's GayFest, which included the country's first gay pride parade, attracted a significant amount of controversy from right-wing groups, as well as the Romanian Orthodox Church. It was initially not given authorisation from the Bucharest City Hall, which claimed that it could not guarantee its security. Approval was, however, later given due to pressure from the Romanian President, Traian Băsescu and the Justice Minister, Monica Macovei, both of whom support LGBT rights.

Unlike recent gay pride parades in Poland and Moscow, which ended in violence and were actively opposed by government officials, this year's Bucharest GayFest parade was authorised by the City Hall without controversy, even though the Romanian Orthodox Church is once again expected to protest its organisation. In the past few years, Romania has significantly changed its gay rights record, introducing an anti-discrimination law in 2000 that includes sexual orientation, and repealing its last anti-gay law, Article 200 of the Penal Code, in 2001.