European liberals join forces for LGBT equality
Liberal politicians and activists from around Europe came together in London this week to launch a new network to campaign for LGBT rights. The inaugural meeting of the 'Liberals for Equality' group took place at the 2013 European Liberal Congress, hosted by the Liberal Democrats in Canary Wharf.
The new network will bring together campaigners from Europe's liberal parties to promote LGBT rights across the continent. Its objectives are to campaign, educate, stimulate debate and provide support to liberal equality campaigners. Its formation is timed to coincide with the run-up to the European parliamentary elections in May.
The event was opened by Giles Goodall, LGBT+ Lib Dems member and European parliamentary candidate. The keynote speech was given by Birgitta Ohlsson MP, Sweden's Minister for European Union Affairs, highlighting the discrimination which still occurs across Europe today and the further work needed at all levels to eradicate prejudice against LGBT people.
The event received great support from ALDE Vice President Lousewies Van der Laan from the Netherlands, who has campaigned on these issues for many years. She chaired the panel debate, with guests Tamara Van Ark MP (also from the Netherlands), Evelyn Paradis from ILGA Europe, Remigijus Simasius MP (from Lithuania) and Adrian Trett from LGBT+ Liberal Democrats in the UK.
Also present at the event were other leading members of the LGBT+ Liberal Democrats, including co-president Baroness Liz Barker.
Adrian said, "It has been a pleasure and an honour to speak at my first ever ALDE Congress. I hope the Liberals for Equality network will provide a springboard for committing all Liberal parties to campaign for LGBT equality, disseminating good practice, educating and networking whilst providing a safe space for discussion and reflection on the main issues facing LGBT people around Europe."
Network co-founder, Giles Goodall, a Liberal Democrat candidate for the European Parliament, said: "LGBT rights are human rights, and for me as a Liberal Democrat, they are a defining principle. That is why I believe we as liberals need to push the agenda forward and to campaign strongly, consistently and loudly for equality, all over Europe."
Please contact Giles Goodall at gilesgoodall.org.uk or Adrian Trett at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information on the network.