European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association

ILGA-Europe welcomes European Parliament’s debate on homophobia in Europe

This afternoon the European Parliament will debate a resolution on homophobia in Europe, which was agreed by all major political groups at the Parliament.

The resolution strongly condemns homophobia and discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in EU member states and calls on the European institutions and EU member states and the candidate countries to urgently eliminate continuing trends of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and to promote and protect the human rights of all persons regardless of their sexual orientation.

ILGA-Europe whole-heartedly welcomes such an important and needed resolution. While some EU member state have achieved a lot in ensuring sexual orientation discrimination is eliminated and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people enjoy the same dignity and rights as the rest of society, other EU member states still practice and even promote discrimination and intolerance against LGBT people. In addition, continuing high levels of homophobic comments and attitudes in many member states is totally unacceptable.  

Last year the European Union witnessed the most appalling manifestations of homophobia and discrimination against LGBT people. For example, peaceful LGBT marches promoting equality and tolerance were banned or hindered by authorities in Poland, Latvia and Romania. Appallingly extreme and hateful statements humiliating, ridiculing and discriminating against LGBT people came out from some senior politicians and religious leaders in Poland and Latvia. Poland closed the nation’s equality body, which dealt with various forms of discrimination including on the grounds of sexual orientation. Latvia remains the only EU member state, which despite the requirement of the EU Employment Equality Directive did not explicitly ban sexual orientation discrimination in employment and has now amended its constitution to ban same-sex marriage. A similar proposal is being debated in Lithuania.

Patricia Prendiville, Executive Director of ILGA-Europe, said:

“This is a very important and timely resolution. Despite the growing efforts of the European Union to eradicate all forms of discrimination including on the grounds of sexual orientation, full equality and enjoyment of equal rights for LGBT Europeans still remains a vision rather than a reality.

We welcome and support all the efforts of the European Union to ensure all Europeans, including LGBT people, enjoy freedom, dignity and equal rights. However there is still a lot of work to be done to make equality for LGBT people a reality across the European Union. The issue of sexual orientation equality is still regarded as controversial in some EU member states. Often this issue is not being considered as equally important or serious as other areas of discrimination, even at the EU level.

We call on the European Union to ensure that EU member states strictly follow and implement the EU’s principles and agreements on anti-discrimination and equality without any reservations or concessions. At the same time we call on the European institutions to ensure that the issue of sexual orientation equality is considered and regarded as equally important as the issues of racism, sexism, ageism and discrimination on the grounds of disability.

For more information please contact

Juris Lavrikovs at + 32 2 609 54 16 / + 32 496 708 375

Notes for editors:

(1) ILGA-Europe is the European region of the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) and works towards equality and human rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Europe.

(2) The debate at the European Parliament will start at 17:00 CET and can be viewed live at the Parliament website: www.europarl.eu.int/eplive/expert/default_en.htm

(3) Text of the draft resolution is available on the Parliament website: http://www.europarl.eu.int/omk/sipade3?PUBREF=-//EP//TEXT+MOTION2006-0043+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN&L=EN&LEVEL=0&NAV=S&LSTDOC=Y