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Gay Rights Roil Former Soviet Georgia

Gay rights have spread in the West, but a backlash is taking hold in the former Soviet Union. Russia’s new ban on gay propaganda is sparking Western calls for boycotts of Russian products and events.
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Georgian Orthodox Priest Shalva Kekelia asked gay leaders not to hold the May 17 rally in downtown Tbilisi and says he and other priests tried unsuccessfully to contain the thousands of counter-demonstrators. (Vera Undritz for VOA)
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Georgian Orthodox Priest Shalva Kekelia asked gay leaders not to hold the May 17 rally in downtown Tbilisi and says he and other priests tried unsuccessfully to contain the thousands of counter-demonstrators. (Vera Undritz for VOA)

David Shubladze, a founder of LGBT Georgia, says that thousands of Georgians -- gay and straight -- signed a petition demanding judicial prosecution of the priests who led the anti-gay mob on May 17, 2013. (Vera Undritz for VOA)
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David Shubladze, a founder of LGBT Georgia, says that thousands of Georgians -- gay and straight -- signed a petition demanding judicial prosecution of the priests who led the anti-gay mob on May 17, 2013. (Vera Undritz for VOA)

Orthodox Christian activists march before clashes with gay rights activists at an International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia rally in Tbilisi, May 17, 2013.
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Orthodox Christian activists march before clashes with gay rights activists at an International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia rally in Tbilisi, May 17, 2013.

Police try to stop an Orthodox Christian activist during clashes with gay rights activists at an International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia rally in Tbilisi, May 17, 2013.
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Police try to stop an Orthodox Christian activist during clashes with gay rights activists at an International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia rally in Tbilisi, May 17, 2013.

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