MEPs support LGBT rights in Europe
Members of the European Parliament urged the member states to set an example in fighting homophobia and condemned homophobic laws and violence against sexual minorities in some European countries. In a resolution, passed on 24 May, MEPs called on the EU countries to give access to cohabitation, registered partnerships or marriage to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.
The resolution was tabled by five major groups in the Parliament, the European People's Party, Socialists and Democrats, Liberal Democrats, Greens and leftists and was rejected only by two groups, who voted against – the coalition of the rightist parties, EFD, and the group led by the British Conservatives.
European lawmakers urged European countries, including Russia, Ukraine and Moldova, to ensure protection and respect for LGBT people who are often exposed to homophobic hate speech and violence. They “strongly condemned 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”.
MEPs condemned restrictions to “freedom of expression and assembly on the basis of misconceptions about homosexuality and transgenderism" and pointed out the legal preconditions for discrimination existing in Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Lithuania, Latvia and Hungary, saying they "legitimise homophobia and, sometimes, violence".
Hungary has recently introduced a constitutional ban on same-sex marriages, while it already existed in Belarus, Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Montenegro, and in some other countries, constitutional definition of a marriage is to be between a man and a woman. Same-sex marriage is legal in Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, The Netherlands, Belgium, and should become legal in Denmark (by July 2012), France (in 2013) and the UK (by 2015).
Countries of the eastern Europe also en masse fail to recognise same-sex relationships, therefore depriving LGBT people of some elementary rights.