Symbolic Same-Sex Marriage Sparks Outrage in Albania

A symbolic same-sex marriage in the Albanian capital, Tirana, has caused significant controversy in the country. On the roof of the city hall, the love between two women was unofficially affirmed "as a protest." Although the ceremony was not legally binding, conservative Albanians have condemned the event.
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The marriage was a symbolic union between Alba Ahmetaj and Edlira Mara, who rented the rooftop of the city hall in Tirana to "marry" there.

The ceremony included everything you would expect from a wedding: rose petals, white dresses, and champagne. "Our society is very patriarchal and homophobic," Ahmetaj told Reuters. "This is something that belongs to us, why should society meddle here?"

In addition to celebrating their love, the ceremony was also a form of protest for the two women. They and their two children regularly face threats and discrimination in Albania. They have even received death threats.

The "marriage" has been met with indignation. Former President Ilir Meta spoke of a "perverse agenda." A spokesperson for the Catholic Church distanced the church from the ceremony, which Reuters reported was conducted by Anglican priests. The Orthodox Church in Albania stated in January that same-sex marriage is "unnatural."

While homosexuality is legal in Albania, the LGBT+ community often faces discrimination. In 2009, President Sali Berisha unsuccessfully attempted to introduce same-sex marriage.

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