The S&D Group in the European Parliament has welcomed an ambitious new LGBTI+ equality strategy presented by S&D Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli. The Commission’s strategy answers the S&D Group’s long-standing calls for a new approach to fighting discrimination and promoting fundamental rights and protection of LGBTI+ people in the EU.
The first-ever LGBTI+ equality strategy comes at a time when LGBTI+ rights are under attack from various European governments using the Covid-19 pandemic as a means of suppressing opposition and protest, while introducing cruel and discriminatory legislative proposals.
Marc Angel MEP, S&D co-chair of the LGBTI-intergroup in the European Parliament, said: “We welcome the new LGBTI+ equality strategy from the Commission and in particular Commissioner Dalli’s personal commitment to fighting LGBTI-phobia and discrimination in EU. We need as many tools as possible in the toolbox to fight the discrimination that so many in LGBTI+ communities still face, be it in the workplace, in education or in access to health. The new equality strategy comes at the right time as the Covid-19 pandemic is hitting some people harder than others. When it comes to cross-border restrictions, rainbow families are too often struggling to have certificates and documents recognised legally by different countries. The ongoing restrictive measures, with limitations on leaving the household social bubble, risk having a disproportionate impact on LGBTI+ people when it comes to domestic violence or mental health difficulties. The family rejection that too many young LGBTI+ face in Europe is leading to more people being made homeless or being forced to flee the family home that should be a safe place.”
Kati Piri MEP, S&D vice-president for civil liberties, justice and home affairs, said: “The shameful situation of rising hate crimes in some member states where national governments are openly attacking and discriminating against LGBTI+ communities are proof of why we need an LGBTI+ equality strategy in the first place. In Hungary, we see the Hungarian government using the Covid-19 pandemic as a cover to harm fundamental rights and LGBTI+ rights. By rushing through plans to limit adoption only to married couples or to single people with special permission from the ministry, Viktor Orban is employing underhanded and unacceptable measures to effectively put a ban on gay adoption, all at a time when public protest is impossible. “
“But he is not alone. In Estonia, the far-right have pressured the coalition government into organising a divisive referendum in spring 2021 on putting a restrictive definition of marriage as being between a man and women part in Estonia’s constitution. In Poland, it is simply unacceptable that some cities declare themselves free from “LGBTI ideology”. We have condemned all these actions from the beginning and we need to react when governments flout EU values. Discrimination is an everyday struggle for many LGBTI+ citizens and it is clear there’s a long way to go before equality is a reality. I also welcome a comprehensive approach when it comes to LGBTI+ perspectives in asylum and migration. We will work hard with other EU institutions, national governments and civil society organisations to make sure that this new LGBTI+ equality strategy is put into action.”