Regarding the proposal on the equalization of civil and church marriage

Center for Development of Civil Society (CDCS) interprets the proposal on the equalization of civil and church marriage, which is embedded in the Draft Civil Code, as the continuation and strengthening of religious discrimination in Serbia.

Legal Recognition of church marriage is a human right, but only if the consequences are such that they do not compromise the equality of citizens before the law.

In given conditions in which unconstitutional and unlawful discrimination against a large number of churches and religious communities is applied, this will contribute to its further strengthening.

In Serbia, a lot of Protestant churches are discriminated. None of the non-Christian religious communities is registered. A few years ago, the Minister of religion insulted the then-Ambassador of India, mentioning in their official talks with her that Vishnu, Shiva and Buddhist communities in Serbia are close to satanic cult’s sects.

The then-Minister of Religion began the forced unification of the Protestant churches. This policy has been applied up to today.

Only privileged churches and religious communities are present in classes in state schools. Only their representatives are authorized to take seats in the National Education Council. Only they can perform religious services in the military and religious services in prisons. Binding instructions of the Radio Broadcasting Agency were given to broadcasters to make them talk about underprivileged churches mostly in the context of the threat of extremism. Police officers held public lectures in which they equated Protestant church with satanic sects.

The state, with its continuous Caesaropapism policy, unconstitutionally and illegally separates religious communities (the case of the Islamic Religious Community), forcibly puts them under the same government set of favored religious communities (the case of a lot of Protestant churches), limiting their bylaw illegal provisions to operating on only one part of the state territory (in the case of the Romanian Orthodox Church).

In the conditions of such religious discrimination, if equalization of civil and church marriage is accepted, state control and illegal arbitrage will affect the most intimate life of believers and contribute to the rise of religious mimicry. Religious freedom in Serbia will be further reduced.