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MEPs call for homophobia to be rooted out

January 16, 2006 12:01 AM

MEPs are expected tomorrow (Tuesday Jan 17th) to support a resolution condemn the disturbing evidence of homophobia in EU countries and calling for EU laws upholding human rights and outlawing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation to be extended and properly implemented in all member states.

They have summoned the European justice Commissioner Franco Frattini to report to them on efforts to combat the scourge. This follows a series of worrying events in EU member states, including the banning of equality 'Pride' marches in Poland, the introduction of a constitutional amendment in Latvia to ban the possibility of same-sex partnerships, and crude anti-gay public commentary.

Liberal Democrat MEP for London Baroness Sarah Ludford, a member of the European Parliament's Intergroup (all-party parliamentary group) on Gay & Lesbian rights, said:

"Every Member State must be made to understand that freedom, dignity and equal respect are for all citizens, without exception. I strongly support the call for EU laws to go beyond the existing ban on workplace discrimination. There need to be Europe-wide measures to combat homophobic acts and hate speech, and to eradicate discrimination in all sectors including the right of gay people to move around the EU with their family members."

The resolution also calls on the European Commission to sanction those states failing to implement EU law. Sarah Ludford added:

"The EU is a community built on shared respect for human rights and acceptance of difference. It is the Commission's job to uphold these principles, and they must not be afraid to pursue any Member State guilty of a breach which seriously prejudices gay people. It has been proved with race hate that legislation can help effect a sea-change in attitudes."