MEPs condemn homophobic remarks at civil liberties committee

Members of parliament's civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee (LIBE) have criticised comments from ECR members as homophobic at a recent sitting.

By James O'Brien

11 Nov 2014

The LIBE committee was discussing a directive on the 'Equal treatment of persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation'.

Substitute LIBE members of parliament's group Marek Jurek and Kazimierz Michał Ujazdowski claimed the directive would be a tool for imposing an LGBT ideology.

Jurek told the committee that while there was consensus on enhancing rights for those with disabilities, no such consensus existed in relation to LGBT rights.

Jurek said, "promoting homosexuality and [the] political face of homosexuality is a division in Europe". He added that introducing LGBT rights into ongoing EU talks with Moldova and Georgia "doesn't boost our authority" and that "our countries entered a community of democratic countries but not a community that questions the moral and cultural heritage of Europe".

Fellow ECR deputy Kazimierz Michal Ujazdowski endorsed Jurek's comments, saying, "[…] we are against the ideology of LGBT" and said that the proposed directive "is a tool to impose on the member states some solutions that go against the grain of their constitutional traditions […]".

"Homophobic remarks have no place in the European parliament. [These] comments just show that we need to step up action in this area"

Ujazdowski voiced his support for the disabled but in terms of LGBT rights regards the directive "a tool of ideological confrontation".

There were strong objections to the comments from the directive's rapporteur Ulrike Lunacek who urged those objecting on ideological grounds to keep in mind the directive was not about same sex marriage but "access to goods and services".

Claude Moraes, chair of the LIBE committee said, "As the chair of the committee, […] I have a long track record of fighting discrimination including homophobia and raising awareness of LGBT issues."

Moraes vowed to "continue to ensure that homophobic remarks are not tolerated in the committee".

In a joint statement, GUE/NGL members of the LIBE committee, Martina Anderson, Dennis de Jong, Malin Björk and Kostas Chrysogonos said the comments were "particularly offensive".

They said, "parliaments across Europe have all agreed on fundamental human rights and the directive is not imposing anything on member states. Homophobic remarks have no place in the European parliament. [These] comments just show that we need to step up action in this area."

The controversial comments came after Amnesty International highlighted "a severe lack of adequate standards to tackle homophobic and transphobic violence both at EU and national levels". The human rights organisation called for urgent action to prevent and prosecute such crimes at EU level.

 

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