by Mike Andrew -
SGN Staff Writer
The European Parliament has passed a resolution condemning anti-Gay laws and calling on EU member states to be 'exemplary in the application and protection of fundamental rights in Europe.'
The measure passed on May 22, by a margin of 430-105. It was widely seen as the EU's response to the violent crackdown on Pride events in several Eastern European countries.
The European parliament of 750 members is directly elected by voters in the EU member states.
The EU is 'gravely concerned by developments which restrict freedom of expression and assembly on the basis of misconceptions about homosexuality and Transgenderism,' the resolution said.
The resolution specifically named Russia, Moldova, Latvia, Lithuania, and Ukraine, calling on them to 'demonstrate, and ensure respect for, the principle of non-discrimination.'
Latvia and Lithuania are EU members, while Russia, Moldova, and Ukraine are not. However, the resolution notes that anti-Gay laws violate international treaties to which those countries are parties.
Anti-Gay laws are 'inconsistent with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which precludes discriminatory laws and practices based on sexual orientation, and to which Russia, Ukraine & and all EU Member States are parties,' the resolution says.
It also calls on the Council of Europe - which does include Russia, Moldova, and Ukraine - to 'investigate these human rights violations, verify their compatibility with the commitments linked to Council of Europe membership and the European Convention on Human Rights.'
The LGBT Intergroup, a caucus of LGBT European parliament members, pushed for the resolution.
'Homophobia, Lesbophobia, and Transphobia are still a cruel reality for too many in Europe,' said Intergroup co-president Michael Cashman.
'We must take action now: the Anti-Discrimination Directive, the Framework Decision on hate crimes, the recognition of civil status documents and their effects & these are tangible measures we can take within the next two years.'
'Such huge support from across political groups shows that homophobes are losing their ground in Europe,' said the Intergroup's other co-president, Ulrike Lunacek.
'Politicians in Lithuania, Latvia, Hungary, Russia, Ukraine, and Moldova should take note: all political families in Europe find it unacceptable to limit freedom of expression as they do. We will not rest until these laws are repealed, and LGBT people in these countries can live without fear.'
Among the areas of concern cited by the European Parliament were the so-called 'Don't Say Gay' laws enacted in parts of Russia, and being considered in Ukraine and Latvia.
The vice-president of the LGBT Intergroup in the European Parliament, Dennis de Jong, said the bans on publicly supporting LGBT rights were a clear breach of universally agreed human rights.
'The Commission and the External Action Service must take note of these bans and condemn them without hesitation,' he said. 'We will work to ensure free speech remains a reality everywhere in Europe, including for LGBT people.'
The European Parliament also specifically condemned 'the violence and threats surrounding the Kiev Pride event,' where police intervened to cancel a planned Pride march but did not protect march organizers from anti-Gay thugs.
The resolution also called on Ukraine to introduce legislation to prohibit discrimination, including discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation.
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