Leader of Bulgaria’s opposition party turns down Pride invite because she’s against same-sex marriage

The leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, the second main political party in Bulgaria, has refused an invitation to Sofia Pride – saying she opposes same-sex marriage and adoption.

In an open letter addressed to the organisers of Sofia Pride on Thursday, opposition leader Korneliya Ninova turned down the invite to attend the event in the nation’s capital this Saturday (June 8).

The Bulgarian Socialist Party is the main opposition party in the country, and is considered more liberal than the right-wing GERB, which stands for Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria, which is currently in power.

The BSP has the biggest membership base of all political parties in Bulgaria, with 105,000 members as of 2016.

“Thank you for your invitation towards me and all members of our team to get involved on Sofia Pride 2018,” Ninova wrote in an open letter to the chair of the Sofia Pride organisational committee.

“We respect differences/diversity. We believe that the constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria guarantee the rights of LGBT people and protect them from discrimination.

“You expect all members of my team to take part in the event. They have been informed about the invitation and every one of them will decide for themselves whether or not to participate.


“As far as your message towards me, accept my respect for LGBT people, but I also trust you will respect differences of opinion. Mine is the same as the 75 percent of Bulgarians, which you refer to in your letter.

“I am against same-sex marriages and the ability of same-sex people to adopt children. Of course, this is a personal position, which does not bind anyone else.”

“We are against violence and discrimination against anyone, including LGBT people. They are free to choose how they live their life. However, attempts to impose differences on a society that does not accept them will have the opposite effect to what you intend.”

Both the Bulgarian Socialist Party and the Labour Party in the UK are members of the Party of European Socialists (PES) – a left-leaning European political party, made up of national-level political parties from all the EU member states and Norway.

Equal marriage and same-sex adoption both remain illegal in Bulgaria.

The BSP was officially formed in 1989, although it claims to have descended from the Bulgarian Social Democratic Party (BSDP), the country’s first socialist party founded in 1891.

Sarah Kerton, co-chair of LGBT Labour, condemned Ninova’s letter.

Kerton said: “It’s painful, most pressingly for the LGBT people of Bulgaria, to hear such regressive positions from their parliamentarians – especially social-democratic politicians.

“As part of Rainbow Rose, LGBT Labour works with members of PES from across Europe to bring about social change and LGBT equality.

“We’ll continue to work with our sister parties and allies, and offer our solidarity and support to those working within the Bulgarian Socialist Party for greater LGBT rights.”