Bulgarian groups oppose foreign officials' endorsement of gay pride parade

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U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria, James Warlick (right), and British Ambassador Jonathan Allen at the 2012 gay pride parade in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Ambassadors from 12 countries are accused of going outside their jurisdiction, and undermining the institutions of marriage and the family, by endorsing a June 2012 gay pride parade in Sofia, Bulgaria.

“We see nothing but purposeful political pressure to blur the conventional boundaries of our society and to erode its attitudes concerning the family institution,” representatives from 20 civic and family organizations told the diplomats in a formal letter of protest, made public July 12.

Ambassadors from the U.S., U.K., Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Finland, France, the Netherlands, Norway, and Serbia were criticized in the complaint for declaring their support for the June 30 Sofia Pride March.

The march drew an estimated 2,000 people, and was praised by the foreign representatives as “an opportunity to promote human rights and tolerance, celebrate diversity, and denounce homophobia.”

Signatories to the July 12 protest letter criticized the parade endorsement, citing the United Nations' Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations – which instructs foreign diplomats to “to respect the laws and regulations of the receiving state” and “not to interfere in the internal affairs of that state.”

“In this act of interference in the domestic affairs of Bulgaria we see nothing but purposeful political pressure to blur the conventional boundaries of our society and to erode its attitudes concerning the family institution,” the letter declared.

Its 20 signers included officials from the Society and Values Association, the Civil Forum for Protecting the Child and the Family, the Friends of Bulgaria foundation, and the Bulgarian Christian Medical Association.

By endorsing the march, the diplomats “indirectly declare and support the demands of homosexual activists” in the realms of “adoption of children, inheritance, registration of same-sex unions, homosexual education in schools, easy civil procedures for a sex-change and others,” the signers said.

“As citizens and parents, we cannot stay indifferent when homosexual behavior and lifestyle has been imposed to our children as harmless and modern,” they told the diplomats.

“We respect the choice of every person, but we do not want to pay with the life and the health of our children for the consequences of such a policy.”

Bulgaria's constitution, they reminded the ambassadors, defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The family and civic society representatives appealed for “non-interference in the internal affairs of our country with respect to family, culture and sexual education of our children.”

The diplomats' home countries, they said, should encourage and affirm family values “rather than destroying them.”

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