The European Parliament has voted in favour of a report that calls for an EU roadmap against homophobia, and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The report was drafted by Ulrike Lunacek MEP, who is the co-president of the Intergroup on LGBT Rights in the EP.
The report, which calls on Member States to protect existing rights for members of the LGBT communities, is an important stepping stone for these communities in Europe. Speaking before the vote in the parliament, Lunacek said:
“Would you want your daughter or your son, your brother or your sister to be afraid, to walk hand in hand with their loved ones in the street? Would you want them to be afraid to tell their colleagues at the office on a Monday morning who they went to the movies with on a Sunday night? Or would you want a friend of yours to be afraid to tell you that he has fallen in love with a man or she has fallen in love with a woman? I guess not.
So many of us lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people have lived our lives in fear for too long. My report says the EU must act on this.
“We have to work on fighting fear, on making sure that people who are attacked or harassed for being lesbian or gay can go to the police, and will have police that understand what the problem, and that they're not harassed again.”
The report faced strong resistance from anti-LGBT campaigners, who coordinated a mass-emailing and lobbying campaign to the European Parliament. Up to 40,000 emails were received by some MEPs.
According to Lunacek:
“Despite EU legislation to protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, there is still discrimination, bullying and violence - in schools, workplaces and in everyday life situations.
"The cynical orchestrated lobbying campaign by conservative hardliners against this report merely served to underline this. Thankfully, a majority of MEPs has today supported the call for an EU roadmap against homophobia and discrimination based on sexual identity. The European Commission must now finally outline a coherent approach at EU level, including concrete measures, as it has already done for the Roma minority and for people with disabilities."