Parliament endorsed on Thursday the report taking stock of the implementation of the EU’s LGBTIQ+ Equality Strategy 2020-2025, expressing concerns and putting forward potential improvements.
The text, adopted with 392 votes for, 119 against and 32 abstentions, regrets the disparity of openness to the EU’s equality strategy between member states. Parliament expresses concerns about the rise of hate speech, crimes and violence against LGBTIQ+ persons, which is often motivated by far-right political forces, resulting in scapegoating and the harmful designation of LGBTIQ+ rights as an ‘ideology’.
MEPs call on the Council to move forward with the Union’s anti-discrimination legislation, which it has blocked since 2008. Parliament has tabled an array of specific proposals, ranging from an inclusive approach to policy design to banning genital mutilation and conversion practices, and from setting up specific EU positions to work towards LGBTIQ+ equality, to applying enforcement tools under EU law for non-compliance with court decisions and breaches of fundamental rights.
Gaps in social protection
LGBTIQ+ persons are disproportionately affected by homelessness and precarious housing, and face more barriers to employment, healthcare, and social protection, despite discrimination based on sexual orientation being prohibited. Older LGBTIQ+ persons are particularly affected, with the LGBTIQ+ population in rural, peripheral and outermost regions facing similar challenges. Further, the EU needs to take more steps for the legal recognition of same sex marriages and partnerships, as well as rainbow parenthood, across all member states, in line with human rights and EU case law.
MEPs are concerned that LGBTIQ+ asylum seekers face additional obstacles in relevant processes and highlight the importance of taking specific conditions into account when designing the Union’s asylum and migration policy. They also underline the need for the EU to address the situation of LGBTIQ+ persons in formal negotiations with candidate countries, and to support all enlargement countries to close legislative gaps and secure fundamental rights.
Rapporteur José Gusmão (The Left, Portugal), commented: “Discrimination continues to exist regardless of the law, in some member states with tragic consequences… We need to make sure that we mainstream LGBTIQ rights across EU policy to make sure that these groups are not discriminated against.”