European Parliament uses soft law approach to some sex/o issues – Updated

by on January 15, 2009  •  In Family law, Immigration

The European Parliament has adopted a Report on the Situation of Fundamental Rights in the EU that urges member states to recognize same-sex unions that are valid in the countries where the status was granted and to grant asylum to persons fleeing persecution based on sexual orientation. However, it does not have the force of law.

Complied by the European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, it contains recommendations on issues such as poverty, homelessness, xenophobia, the treatment of Roma people and the application of anti-discrimination laws throughout the EU. It was approved on January 14 by 401 votes in favor, 220 against and 67 abstentions.

In the section addressing sexual orientation issues, the report:

72. Takes the view that discriminatory comments against homosexuals by social and political leaders fuel hatred and violence, and calls on the relevant governing bodies to condemn them;

73. Welcomes the publication of the first thematic report by the Fundamental Rights Agency, drawn up at Parliament’s request, on Homophobia and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation in the EU Member States and asks to Member States and EU institutions to urgently follow the Agency's recommendations or state their reasons for not doing so;

74. Reminds all Member States that, in line with European Court of Human Rights case-law, freedom of assembly may be exercised even if the opinions of those exercising that right go against the majority, and that, accordingly, a discriminatory ban on marches and any failure to meet the requirement to give appropriate protection to those taking part breach the principles guaranteed by the European Court of Human Rights, by Article 6 of the EU Treaty on common EU values and principles, and by the Charter;

75. Calls on those Member States who have adopted legislation on same-sex partnerships to recognise provisions with similar effects adopted by other Member States; calls on those Member States to propose guidelines for mutual recognition of existing legislation between Member States in order to guarantee that the right of free movement within the European Union for same-sex couples applies under conditions equal to those applicable to heterosexual couples;

76. Urges the Commission to submit proposals ensuring that Member States apply the principle of mutual recognition for homosexual couples, whether they are married or living in a registered civil partnership, in particular when they are exercising their right to free movement under EU law;

77. Calls on those Member States who have not yet done so, and in application of the principle of equality, to take legislative action to overcome the discrimination experienced by some couples on the grounds of their sexual orientation;

78. Calls on the Commission to make sure that Member States grant asylum to persons fleeing from persecution on the grounds of their sexual orientation in their country of origin, to take initiatives at the bilateral and multilateral level to stop the persecutions of persons on the basis of their sexual orientation, and to launch a study on the situation of trans-sexual people in the Member States and candidate countries, with regard inter alia to the risk of harassment and violence.

Source:  Pink News 

UPDATE: The Alliance Defense Fund submitted a legal memorandum to the European Parliament urging members to reject this report.  It's another sign of the extent to which ADF is expanding its operations beyond U.S. borders.

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