On Thursday last week the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the increase of racist and homophobic violence in Europe. The resolution was welcomed by the European branch of the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA).
Riccardo Gottardi, Co-Chair of ILGA-Europe Executive Board, said: “We all heartedly welcome this resolution and the determination of the European Parliament to address homophobia and other forms of prejudice and discrimination in the European Union.”
The resolution calls on member states to actively enact laws to deal with hate crimes and asks that the Council of Europe finally approve a 2001 proposal that would ban “homophobic, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic and other types of offences motivated by phobia or hatred based on ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, religion or other irrational grounds” in EU countries.
The resolution was passed with 301 votes in favour, 161 opposing and 102 abstentions – mostly from former Soviet states. Poland has been particularly singled out for its homophobic tendencies. After a number of years of the country’s capital banning a gay pride parade, the event was allowed to take place this year for the first time.
Some member states however blatantly snubbed the resolution. On the same day, the Latvian Parliament removed specific protection for lesbians and gays from its non-discrimination law – a law which was originally passed in 2004 as a condition for it to become an EU state. Latvia amended its constitution earlier this year to bar same-sex marriage.
Poland denied that it discriminates against its LGBT community, a Polish member of the European Parliament accusing liberals of fabricating allegations against the country.