Main | Sunday, July 15, 2012

European Union: You Must Respect LGBT Rights If You Want To Be An EU Member

The European Commission has issued a statement declaring that prospective member nations of the European Union must honor LGBT rights for admittance.
"Rights of LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] people thus form an integral part of both the Copenhagen political criteria for accession and the EU legal framework on combatting discrimination. They are closely monitored by the EU commission, which reports annually on the progress made by enlargement countries with regard to the situation of the LGBT community," it said. The commission note was sent to EUobserver in response to a question born of an interview with an Armenian cleric. Armenia, a deeply Christian country where church teaching has more authority than in many EU states with Christian roots, is keen to become an EU member. Homosexuality is not against the law. But according to a recent study by the Brussels-based rights group Ilga-Europe, it scores better only than Moldova and Russia in terms of legal protection of LGBT people in Europe.
Currently the recognized candidates for EU admittance are Iceland, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Turkey. Croatia has been approved to join in July 2013. Albania has applied, but has not been officially recognized as a candidate nation.

It should be noted that while homosexuality itself may not be illegal in some of the more recently admitted EU member nations, living as an openly LGBT person remains difficult and dangerous for many. The International Gay & Lesbian Association recently ranked the nations of Europe in 42 categories ranging from persecution-based asylum requests to full marriage equality. As you can see from the map below, many existing EU member nations scored very poorly. The EU needs to do some in-house cleaning in addition to placing demands on candidate nations. (A larger version of the below map is available for download as a PDF at the above link.)RELATED: Some economists are predicting at least a partial dissolution of the existing European Union due to the ongoing global debt crisis.

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