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Ludford: MEPs back action against LGBT discrimination despite Tory/UKIP opposition

February 5, 2014 8:00 AM
London Pride 2010 - Caroline Pigeon, Ros Scott, Lynne Featherstone, and Sarah Ludford

Sarah Ludford MEP (right) at London Pride in 2010 with fellow Lib Dems Caroline Pidgeon, Baroness Ros Scott and Lynne Featherstone MP

The European Parliament has overwhelmingly approved a new European Union 'LGBT roadmap' to help tackle widespread discrimination against the gay community across Europe.

The Lunacek report (FAQ) calls for:

  • Legislation to prohibit incitement to hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Proposals for the mutual recognition of documents across the EU to reduce barriers on same-sex couples in exercising their right to freedom of movement
  • The monitoring of equal treatment in employment, with 1 in 5 LGBT people feeling they were discriminated against at work or when looking for a job
  • Protection of LGBT freedom of expression.

While Liberal Democrat MEPs strongly supported these measures to tackle LGBT discrimination, Conservative and UKIP MEPs abstained. Liberal Democrat MEP for London & vice-president of LGBT+ Liberal Democrats Sarah Ludford said: "With half of LGBT people in Europe subject to some form of discrimination, urgent action is needed to ensure the gay community is protected. As a Liberal Democrat, I want to see equal treatment become the norm across Europe. The roadmap is not about giving the LGBT community special privileges. It's simply a recognition that existing rights applicable to everyone are not being properly enforced for LGBT people.

"It's a disgrace that Conservative MEPs failed to support action to tackle LGBT discrimination, following in the footsteps of their ideological bedfellows UKIP. While UKIP and the Tories continue to ignore the injustices that LGBT citizens face, Liberal Democrat MEPs will keep putting gay rights, as part of human rights, a core focus of our work in the European Parliament."

Ed Fordham, Chair of LGBT+ Liberal Democrats added: "This is a welcome report for activists and citizens across Europe - it identifies where the challenges still lie, where can can conitnue to make progress and how equality can be improved. Critically this is not about special favours for anyone - this is about equality for all.

"This report is expecially helpful in highlighting how issues facing the LGBT community and their families crosses the spectrum of healthcare, equality, freedom of expression, transgender rights, tackling hate crime, employment and education. Having these core basic equalities asserted across the whole of Europe isgreat news and to be weclomes. I am especially grateful to MEP Sarah Ludford (London) and the work done by Euro candidate Giles Goodall (South East) in asserting this positive agenda for all."