European Parliament urges Member States to protect LGBT people against violence, hatred and grant mutual recognition for same-sex couples

On 14 January the European Parliament adopted a report on the “Situation of fundamental rights in the European Union 2004-2008”, drafted by Italian MEP Giusto Catania.

The report asks Member States and the European Institutions to adopt recommendations made by the Fundamental Rights Agency on homophobia as a matter of urgency. In addition, the Parliament called on the European Commission to propose legislation which would introduce criminal offences for homophobic behaviour.

“This report endorses the rights of every European citizen”, said Michael Cashman, President of the LGBT Intergroup. “I particularly welcome the call for mutual recognition of same-sex partnerships and marriages by EU member states alongside the call for the Commission propose legislation which guarantees the right of free movement for same-sex couples.”

Vice-President of the Intergroup for ALDE Sophie in’t Veld is pleased that by adopting her amendment the European Parliament condemns homophobic hate speech by political and religious leaders. “All citizens are equally entitled to protection by the EU against discrimination, intolerance and violence. Political and religious leaders must use their influence on public opinion responsibly, and refrain from statements that may incite to hatred and violence.”

Raul Romeva, the Vice-President of the Intergroup for Greens/EFA added, “It is very important that this report deals with and urges the European Commission to make sure that Member States grant asylum to persons fleeing from persecution on the grounds of their sexual orientation. To seek asylum in the EU has lately been very problematic for many gay people.

Another significant measure the Parliament has asked for is to launch a study on the situation of trans-sexual people in the Member States and candidate countries, with regard to the risk of harassment and violence.”