HOT TOPICS  / Invasione russa in Ucraina Qatargate Coronavirus Fit for 55 Energia Hge Agrifood Salute
European Parliament calls for LGBTI unions

European Parliament calls for LGBTI unions

In a plenary session, the EP calls for EU roadmap to protect fundamental rights of LGBTI people, and urges Member States to ensure respect for all forms of families legally recognised under other Member States’ national laws. Rapporteur Lunacek (Greens): “EU must be a safe zone for all minorities” gay marriage

From our correspondent in Strasbourg Letizia Pascale

According to the European Parliament, the European Union should recognise gay marriages celebrated under member states’ national laws. This openness, which has caused the Catholic- and conservative-wings’ protests, comes after the approval of a Parliament resolution (passed by 394 votes to 176, with 72 abstentions) which calls for a EU roadmap to protect fundamental rights of lesbian, gay, bisex, transgender and intersex people.

The ‘sorest’ spot of the resolution urges the European Commission to act in order to “make proposals for the mutual recognition of the effects of all civil status documents across the EU, including cohabitation, registered partnerships or marriage, in order to reduce discriminatory legal and administrative barriers for citizens and their families who exercise their right to free movement.” That is, any LGBTI couple legally married should have their rights guaranteed in all Member States, even where gay marriage is not recognised.

The Parliament urged the Union to act on other fronts too, calling for a real roadmap to protect fundamental rights of LGBTI people. “The Union should be a safe, free and equal zone. Yet it not like this for some minorities: there are anti-discrimination policies in favour of Roma and disabled, but not for LGBTI people – even though they are needed,” underlined Ulrike Lunacek (Greens), Rapporteur of the resolution.

A 2013 EU Fundamental Rights Agency’s survey, completed by around 93,000 LGBTI people, showed that 66 percent of respondents across all EU Member States were scared of holding hands in public with a same-sex partner. The survey underlined that about 30 percent of the respondents said they were victims of violence or threats of violence more than three times in the year before the survey and about 25 percent had experienced discrimination, violence, verbal abuse or hate speech on the grounds of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The picture is clear then, but MEPs underlined that, notwithstanding the pressure by the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs of the EP, the European Commission has done nothing about it. The European Commission has thus decided to intervene for asking positive measures. MEPs has listed a series of targets to be reached in areas such as employment, education, health, goods and services, citizenship, families and freedom of movement, freedom of assembly and expression, hate speech and hate crime. The Union should be committed to reach these targets, yet the resolution clearly states this comprehensive policy must respect member states’ competences.

Consequently, in the field of education, the Commission should promote equality and non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity throughout its youth and education programmes. It should also facilitate the sharing of good practice in formal education among member states, including teaching materials, anti-bullying and anti-discrimination policies.

MEPs called for enhanced protection of transgender people: Member States, says the resolution, should “introduce or review legal gender recognition procedures so they fully respect transgender people’s right to dignity and bodily integrity”, for instance precluding any requirement for them to undergo sterilization.

This historical Parliament openness faces strong opposition: “I’ve received more than 4,000 emails from all over Europe, reporting only untrue statements,” said Lunacek. “They told me we are trying to give particular rights or privileges to LGBTI people, that we are supporting a ‘LGBT-lobby’, and we are not,” added the Rapporteur. “We are just calling for fundamental rights for LGBTI people, and the resolution does not carry any financial consequence.” Most EPP MEPs voted against the resolution (the party left freedom of vote to its members), as well as most French conservatives.