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Czech President defends critique of Prague Mayor over Gay Pride Parade

Prague, 5.8.2011 16:31, (ROMEA)

The following statement has been released by Czech President Václav Klaus:

I resolutely reject the demands made by the Czech Social Democrats (ČSSD) and Public Affairs Party (VV) that I distance myself from the statements recently made by Petr Hájek regarding Mayor Svoboda giving his auspices to the Prague [Gay] Pride event. (I will leave aside the translation of the English word "pride", which according to www.slovnik.cz means "pomp, presumption, aloofness, arrogance, boasting, conceit, a golden age, or erotic concupiscence"). The statements were not made by me and I would probably have chosen different words.

However, I too feel no "pride" about this event. I resolutely reject the statement by the Shadow Human Rights Minister for ČSSD that Petr Hájek is consciously "inciting hatred against a minority of our country's population." Petr Hájek, who will certainly defend himself, is not protesting against this event, but against the fact that this demonstration is receiving such high auspices from the mayor and other political actors in our country. It is one thing to tolerate something, but it is quite another to give it public support in the name of an important institution. I refuse to participate in the bandying of semantics over whether a deviation from the norm (and that this is a deviation even Shadow Human Rights Minister Tominová cannot deny) is to be considered an exception, an eccentricity, an anomaly, an aberration, or a deviation.

While some are displeased by the word "deviation", I consider it value-neutral. In any event, while homosexuality is something that is markedly in the minority and therefore deserves our protection, it does not necessarily deserve to be celebrated. Several days ago, at the University in Melbourne (28 July 2011) I gave a speech on the dangers to freedom in the 21st century where, among other remarks, I said the following: "We may respect homosexuality, but not homosexualism". I stand by this claim, even though at the time I had no idea how soon I would have to defend it. "Prague Pride" is not a demonstration of homosexuality, but of homosexualism, about which I am very concerned, as I am about many other fashionable "-isms". This is also the position I publicly took when I vetoed the law on registered partnership in 2006, see http://www.hrad.cz/cs/prezident-cr/rozhodnuti-prezidenta/vracene-zakony-parlamentu/3339.shtml. For those who are calling on me to join their attacks on free speech, I have the following message: If someone defends tolerance of opinions, they should start by being tolerant themselves.

František Kostlán, Gwendolyn Albert, fk, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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