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Europe: The Lunacek report: myths and facts

Saturday 25 January 2014, by siawi3


20 January 2014

On 4 February 2014, the report on an “EU roadmap against homophobia and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity†will be voted in plenary of the European Parliament. This report has been prepared by Ulrike Lunacek and approved on 17 December 2013 by the Committee on civil liberties, justice and home affairs (LIBE).

Attacks from extremist religious lobbies

The report has been the subject of numerous attacks from extremist religious groups and lobbies under the biased argument that granting fundamental rights to LGTBI people would create discrimination towards other groups in the population.

Some of those lobbies such as the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children or Dignity Watch are asking their members to write to MEPs, resulting to thousands of emails jeopardizing the work of MEPs.

A lot has been said about the report, most of it wrong or exaggerated. For instance, it was said to “promote†homosexuality at school and to push for the recognition of same-sex marriages. The report invites Member States to share good practices regarding anti-discrimination policies and to tackle discrimination in youth programmes. It shall be reminded that those programmes could enhance the well-being of young LGBTI, but do not aim at influencing someone’s sexual orientation. The report also invites the Commission to make propositions to help the recognition of civil documents in order to allow all families to exercise their right of free movement. It is not about imposing the same legislation on EU member states.

What the report would change

The report underlines that LGBTI people do not have the same rights than other EU citizens yet. In order for all citizens, regardless of sexual orientation or identity to be equals, the report invites Member States to fulfil their legal obligations under EU law and the EU to adopt a more comprehensive approach on those matters. These obligations also concern accession countries, as underlined in the report.

The report invites the Commission to facilitate and coordinate the exchange of good practices among Member States and to work on securing existing rights, amongst other measures through monitoring of relevant data. The discussed themes should include non-discrimination in the fields of employment, education, health, freedom of expression and assembly and goods and services.

Again, granting the same fundamental rights to all citizens isn’t granting special rights to some. It rather repairs an injustice that has lasted too long. In 2013, 47 % of LGBT people felt discriminated against or harassed in the last year according to a survey by the Agency for Fundamental Rights. Article 10 TFEU declares that “In defining and implementing its policies and activities, the Union shall aim to combat discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation†.

So the report is not about “queering Human Rights†but making sure that LGBTI are included in those rights and in the mechanisms in place to protect citizens from any kind of discrimination.