9th May 2007
The opposition of the Roman Catholic church to gay Pride parades reached a new low today when the Archbishop of Riga called homosexuality "total corruption in the sexual arena" and "an unnatural form of prostitution."
An open letter from Cardinal Janis Pujats demands a referendum on the issue of same-sex marriage and calls on crowds of people to take to the streets of Riga to oppose the Pride march on June 3rd.
"If there are 1,000 sexually crazy people acting foolishly in the square of Pride, then the people’s march in Riga should have at least 40,000 or 50,000," he wrote.
Gay and lesbian protesters were refused permission to march in Riga on the 22nd July 2006 by city officials, who cited security advice from the interior ministry.
A group of around 50 activists instead held a service of tolerance at a local Anglican church.
Hundreds of neo-Nazi skinheads, ultra-nationalists and members of the Orthodox church besieged the church, pelting the activists with excrement.
It was reported that local police stood and watched as events unfolded and declined to intervene.
The new Mayor of the Latvian capital has publicly backed the 2007 gay rights march in the city in June.