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Sophie calls for a rethink in Europe

November 28, 2006 6:45 PM
Sophie In't Veld MEP

Sophie In't Veld MEP, one of the European Lib Dems on the LG Intergroup

The European Parliament's Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights is seeking an amendment to a statement from the European Parliament Bureau on diversity, after it was revealed that sexual orientation was removed from a bureau resolution. The document details anti-discrimination principles within the workplace of the European Parliament which covered non-party-political employment - broadly equivalent to the Civil Service in the UK. It states that employees should not be discriminated against based on sex, disability race, colour or ethnicity.

The decision to remove sexual orientation had been criticised by LGBT activists as a dangerous precedent. DELGA Chair Jen Yockney commented, "as employment laws come into force protecting LGBT workers in many countries it is simple sense that the Euro-civil service staff should be getting equal rights at work too."

Dutch MEP Sophie In't Veld is a member of the Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights (which also covers bi and trans issues despite its name) and is a member of ALDES, the European Parliament grouping which includes the British Lib Dems.

Sophie commented to Pink News magazine, "We need to remember the European Institutions have well-developed policies on diversity, the resolutions passed by the Parliament on homophobia further highlights the commitment of our House to diversity. We welcome initial feedback that the Bureau may be willing to revisit this issue to improve the text."

The International Lesbian and Gay Association had expressed surprise at the omission after reports that a draft resolution of the European Parliament's Secretariat, the administrative arm of the political body, had initially included sexual orientation, but doing so was defeated by four votes to two, with two abstentions.

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