LGBTI Equal Rights Association for Western Balkans and Turkey

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22 May

Orthodox Priest Jovan Plamenac was propagating hate speech against LGBT persons and is called to make a public apology to LGBT people in Montenegro within the next 15 days. This was the decision of the Ombudsman following the complaint of Queer Montenegro. On Orthodox New Year celebrations in Podgorica’s main square Plamencas made an allusion to the logo of “Montenegro Pride” by saying “Montenegrin moustache should go back from faggot asses to where it was in our ancestor’s era”.
A few days after his first statement, in an interview for the “Podjeba” daily, he continued with his hate speech rhetoric by saying: “If their moustache grown under their nose and they wear them on their back, then they are mocking Montenegrins who cherish the moustache as a symbol of their honour and who would kill whomever puts a finger on it”.
Following the filing of a complaint by Queer Montenegro the Ombudsman concluded that priest Plamenac’s statements contained elements of hate speech against members of the LGBT community and those fighting for their rights. The Ombudsman issued a recommendation for priest Plamenac to make a public apology to the LGBT community within 15 days and to refrain from further hate speech against LGBT persons. In his opinion the Ombudsman added that “public hate speech is not and cannot be part of any religious doctrine, nor can religious beliefs of religious communities’ values be used as justification for hate speech”.
In their statement Queer Montenegro said they “expect a public apology from priest Plamenac within the defined period of time. Should there be no apology, the organization will take adequate steps in accordance with legal possibilities”. Meanwhile, in accordance with procedure, Queer Montenegro is expecting the Supreme State Prosecutor to examine whether there were elements of criminal offense prosecuted ex-officio in statements made by Mr. Plamenac. Having in mind that the Serbian Orthodox Church had the privilege of violating positive legislation in Montenegro and region-wide over the last few years and that it has repeatedly propagated hate, intolerance and discrimination of LGBT persons in statements made by its representatives, without taking responsibility or sanctions for such actions, the organization welcomed the positive conclusion and publicly expressed views of the Ombudsman that religious beliefs and religious communities’ values cannot be used as justifications for hate speech.

Country - Montenegro