EP condemns homophobic laws and violence in Europe

The European Parliament has asked EU Member states to set an example in fighting homophobia.

In a resolution adopted by a clear majority on 24th May 2012, the MEPs condemn homophobic laws and violence in European countries, and call on EU member states to consider giving access to cohabitation, registered partnerships or marriage to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

European countries, whether or not they are EU member states, and including Russia, Ukraine and Moldova, should ensure that LGBT people are protected from homophobic hate speech and violence, says the resolution. It also urges European countries to ensure that same-sex partners enjoy the same respect as the rest of society.

The Parliament "strongly condemns any discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and strongly regrets that in the European Union, the fundamental rights of LGBT people are not yet fully upheld," says the resolution.

MEPs also voice concern over "developments which restrict freedom of expression and assembly on the basis of misconceptions about homosexuality and transgenderism." They hold that "EU member states should be exemplary" in protecting the fundamental rights of LGBT people.

In the resolution's recitals, the MEPs consider a number of laws and bills passed or currently being examined in six countries: Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Lithuania, Latvia and Hungary.

They regret that "laws of this kind are already used to arrest and fine citizens, including heterosexual citizens, who express support, tolerance and acceptance of LGBT people." These laws "legitimise homophobia and, sometimes, violence," they add.

As "LGBT people's fundamental rights are more likely to be safeguarded if they have access to legal institutions such as cohabitation, registered partnership or marriage," MEPs call on member states who do not allow these rights "to consider doing so."

They also call on the European Commission to "propose measures to mutually recognise the effects of civil status documents on the basis of the principle of mutual recognition."

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