Statement: Anti-discrimination on the basis of some personal inclination is not the same as freedom of expression of that person

Because of the different, and frequently one-sided or wrong interpretations of problems regarding the anti-discrimination Bill in some media, I am giving, in order to explain and inform impartially , following personal statement , which represents also the position of the Holy Synod of my Church and the positions of all the traditional Churches and religious communities.

Basic rights and freedom are also basic values of the legal order and society in whole. There belongs also anti-discrimination, that is a principle of equal protection of rights and freedoms. However, possible sources of discrimination are something totally different.

Discrimination is forbidden on the basis of property status, but the state is responsible to reduce poverty. Also discrimination is forbidden on the basis of disability, but the state has to undertake all measures  so as to prevent possibilities of  such discrimination.

The Bill that the Government has sent to the Assembly, consists of something that has no nothing with the discrimination on the basis of the sexual orientation. That Bill guarantees right of freedom to express sexual orientation. Such a right does not exist in any international agreement on anti-discrimination, nor in any European directive, neither in any relevant European or other nations` legislation. A right to express publicly of some inclination, which does not belong to nor in the scope of thoughts or ideas neither in the scope of culture, is not a mean of fight against discrimination. A practice of such right, actually expressing publicly any kind of sexual orientation, offends right of citizens to privacy and family life, but also offends their religious rights, as well as sacrosanctity of personal dignity.

The traditional Churches and religious communities do not want at all the anti-discrimination to be reduced. Citizens of Serbia, as well as the foreigners that are living in Serbia, should not be discriminated onthe basis of their personal attributes or inclinations. The traditional Churches and religious communities support any effort in that direction, as well as passing the law as soon as possible.

The present Bill, except in terms of the right to express sexual orientation, seriously deviates from the international standards in two ways: it does not contain a provision which would help ,in general manner, to resolve conflicts of performing different protected rights and provide objective responsibility for discriminative actions.

Obviously that such a Bill would lead to hard conflicts in society.


March 16, 2009

Delivers: Bishop Irinej of Backa, m.p.