Next week, Members of the European Parliament will vote on the report for an EU roadmap against homophobia (available in 24 languages). The Committee on Civil Liberties supported the report with an overwhelming majority in December, and five political groups stand behind it.
MEPs have received numerous questions about the report, and petitions misrepresent its contents on purpose. Here is a list of frequently asked questions, which will be updated in the run up to the vote on 4 February.
What is the report about? It calls for a new EU action plan to combat homophobia and transphobia, just like the EU already combats discrimination based on gender, disability or ethnicity. EU law should protect all citizens against discrimination, including when they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Living free from threats and discrimination isn’t a ‘personal interest’, but a human right.
"The report doesn’t respect subsidiarity." Yes, it does. Paragraph 5 of the report states that the roadmap "must respect the competences of the European Union, of its agencies, and of Member States".
"The report creates special rights for LGBT people and undermines universal human rights." The report never mentions any special rights. It makes suggestions to ensure that the fundamental rights enjoyed by all can also be enjoyed by LGBT people. For instance, it recommends making sure that Directive 2000/78 on equal treatment in employment applies to lesbian and gay people so that, like everyone else, they aren't fired because of their personal characteristics.
"The report promotes ‘gender theory’, which says that people can choose their sex." There is no such thing as 'gender theory' in this report.The report mentions gender identity, an individual characteristic like age, ethnicity or sexual orientation. Transgender people face specific problems (for instance, they are considered mentally ill), which the report seeks to address.
"The report will make it illegal for those who disagree with gay rights to express their opinion." No, it won't affect freedom of expression. The report asks the Commission to review the Council Framework Decision on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia to also punish incitement to hatred or violence against LGBT people.
"The report imposes teaching gay issues in schools to Member States." No, it won't. The report proposes to facilitate the exchange of good practice in the field of education among Member States, in a non-binding way through the Open Method of Coordination.
"The report will force Member States to allow same-sex marriage, adoption, in vitro fertilization and surrogacy for same-sex couples." The report says this nowhere. EU treaties clearly state that the EU cannot modify national family law. The report proposes to ensure that marriages and partnerships that already exist don't dissolve at the border, leaving families including children in a legal limbo.
"The report will provide money to ILGA-Europe or other LGBT organisations." The report doesn’t refer to money or funding anywhere.
"The report was written by 'the gay lobby', or promotes 'the gay agenda'." The report was written by elected MEPs from five different political groups. It received overwhelming support in committee (40 votes in favour, 2 votes against and 6 abstentions), from the EPP, S&D, ALDE, Greens/EFA and GUE/NGL groups.
"Children will be subjected to homosexual propaganda." There is no such thing as 'homosexual propaganda'. What the report does promote is the principle that LGBT people deserve equality and respect, full stop.
"The report includes an EU-wide veto mechanism for the LGBT community." No such mechanism exists anywhere, and it would be legally impossible in the EU.
Tags: roadmapPosted in: Parliamentary work, Recent news