Mr Gagik Jhangiryan does not consider himself as an MP of such wide profile continues the interview series with the MPs discussing the  LGBTI rights and this time we interviewed Gagik Jhangiryan, MP, Armenian National Congress Political party.

Mr Jhangiryan, do you think there is any discrimination against and group/s in Armenia and do you see the necessity of an anti-discrimination legislation?

I am against in having such specific legislation as if we managed to keep the principle of everyone’s equality by law, we wont need any such specific legislation. So, instead of having a separate law on domestic violence and anti-discrimination, we need to keep the principle of everyone’s equality in courts, this is a constitutional norm. If we have this norm reflected in our laws and if those are applied, we wont need any specific anti-discrimination law.

You mean that Armenian citizens are not equal by law and that…

Of course they are not equal, therefore I am saying that instead of promoting specific legislation, we need to promote constitutional principles. Such laws are only a result of lobbying by foreign international institutions, they are completely unaware of our laws and they want to achieve their aim by only promoting a narrow, specific legislation. But those laws will be very difficult to integrated into our legal system. For example, I have read the draft law on domestic violence: that is comprised of dozens of provisions of criminal and criminal proceedings law. What is the purpose to additionally single those out and get it into a strange basket?

Mr Jhangiryan, the constitutional principles which you have just made a reference to – do they have any right protection mechanism for the gay marriages?

We are taking about the rights and freedoms prescribed by our constitution. Now the question is, the right, which you mentioned and I don’t want even to name it, is given to our citizens or not.

Our constitution as it is today, does not prohibit gay marriages but if you interpret the constitution otherwise and consider it solely a union between a woman and a man, don’t you think that the such interpretation is already discriminative?

I am not a specialist of that.

Mr Jhangiryan, there are very few lawyer MPs in the Parliament and you are one of them.

I think the question here is not of legal nature rather moral-ethical, national-traditional as for legal issues one can always find solutions.

LGBTI people are the most discriminated group in Armenia

I don’t know such people, I am in touch with them, I don’t know if they are under pressure or not, if they are discriminated or not. We have thousands of problems in Armenia now; migration, bad economic situation, border pressure, regular deaths etc. Are you really telling me that this issue is the most important one?

I don’t mix and contradict the rights one citizen into that of another one. I am now just asking you on this specific issue.

I do not know this theme well enough.

You are an MP, isn’t this issue important for you?

If I am an MP, shall I address all issues you think? I am not an MP of such wide profile.

Mr Jhangiryan, are you ready to protect the rights of LGBTI people, if they ask you for help?

I already said, I am ready to protect the equal rights of all citizens before law and court.

If an LGBTI person would want to marry but today’s interpretation of constitution wont allow to do it, would you initiate steps to amend the constitution to ensure the equality you have been taking about?

We just adopted a new constitution. All corresponding laws have been updated related to this. We cant change things every 3-4 years. I am not ready to bring up this issue. I am not ready.

Lilit Lalayan