Background information

The European Parliament,
A. whereas homophobia can be defined as an irrational fear of and aversion to homosexuality and of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people based on prejudice, similar to racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and sexism,

B. whereas homophobia manifests itself in the private and public spheres in different forms such as hate speech and incitement to discrimination, ridicule, verbal, psychological and physical violence as well as persecution and murder, discrimination in violation of the principle of equality, and unjustified and unreasonable limitations of rights, which are often hidden behind reasons of public order, religious freedom and the right to conscientious objection,

C. whereas recently a series of worrying events have taken place in a number of EU Member States, as widely reported by the press and NGOs, ranging from banning gay prides or equality marches to the use by leading politicians and religious leaders of inflammatory, hat or threatening language, police failing to provide adequate protection or even breaking up peaceful demonstrations, violent demonstrations by homophobic groups, and the introduction of changes to constitutions to explicitly prohibit same-sex unions,

D. whereas at the same time a positive, democratic and tolerant reaction has been shown in some cases by the general public, civil society and local and regional authorities that have demonstrated against homophobia, as well as by justice systems redressing the most striking and illegal forms of discrimination,

E. whereas same-sex partners in some Member States do not enjoy all of the rights and protections that married opposite sex partners do, consequently suffering discrimination and disadvantages,

F. whereas at the same time more countries in Europe are moving towards ensuring equal opportunities, inclusion and respect, and provide protection against discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation, and recognition of same-sex families, gender expression and gender identity;

G. whereas the Barroso Commission has declared its commitment to ensuring respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in the EU, and has set up a group of Commissioners responsible for human rights,

H. whereas not all EU Member States have introduced in their legal order measures to protect the rights of GLBT people, as required by Directive 2000/43/EC and Directive 2000/78/EC, nor are they all fighting discrimination based on sexual orientation and promoting equality,

I. whereas further action is needed at EU level and in the Member States to eradicate homophobia and promote a culture of freedom, tolerance and equality among their citizens and in their legal order,

  1. Strongly condemns any discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation;

  2. Calls on Member States to ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are protected from homophobic hate speech and violence and ensure that same-sex partners enjoy the same respect, dignity and protection as the rest of society; (italic part was kept in with a majority of 539 in favour and 58 against, roll call vote list in attachment)

  3. Urges Member States and the Commission to firmly condemn homophobic hate speech or incitement to hatred and violence, and to ensure that freedom of demonstration – guaranteed by all human rights treaties - is respected in practice;

  4. Calls on the Commission to ensure that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in all sectors is prohibited by completing the anti-discrimination package based on Article 13 either by proposing new directives or by proposing a general framework, covering all grounds for discrimination and all sectors;

  5. Urges Member States and the Commission to step up the fight against homophobia through education – such as campaigns against homophobia in schools, in universities and in the media - as well as through administrative, judicial and legislative means;

  6. Reiterates its position with regard to 'Year 2007 - Equality for All' that the Commission must ensure that all forms of discrimination referred to in Article 13 of the Treaty and in Article 2 of the Decision establishing the Year are addressed and dealt with equally, as referred to in the European Parliament's report on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and the Council on the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All (2007) - Towards a Just Society, and reminds the European Commission of its promise to closely monitor this matter and to report to Parliament;

  7. Urges the Commission to ensure that all Member States have transposed and are correctly implementing Directive 2000/78/EC (establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation) and to start infringement proceedings against those Member States that fail to do so; in addition, calls on the Commission to ensure that the annual report on the protection of fundamental rights in the EU includes full and comprehensive information on the incidence of homophobic hate crimes and violence in Member States;

  8. Urges the Commission to come up with a proposal for a directive on protection against discrimination on the basis of all the grounds mentioned in Article 13 of the EC Treaty, having the same scope as Directive 2000/43/EC;

  9. Urges the Commission to consider the use of criminal penalties in cases of violation of Article 13 directives;

  10. Calls on all Member States to take any other action they deem appropriate in the fight against homophobia and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and to promote and implement the principle of equality in their society and legal order;

  11. Urges Member States to enact legislation to end discrimination faced by same-sex partners in the areas of inheritance, property arrangements, tenancy, pensions, tax, social security etc.;

  12. Welcomes steps taken in several Member States recently to improve the position of LGBT people and resolves to organise a seminar for the exchange of good practice on 17 May (International Day against Homophobia);

  13. Reiterates its request that the European Commission put forward proposals guaranteeing freedom of movement for Union citizens and their family members and registered partners of either gender, as referred to in Parliament's resolution of 14 October 2004 on the future of the area of freedom, security and justice;

  14. Calls on the Member States concerned to finally fully recognise homosexuals as targets and victims of the Nazi regime;

  15. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to Commission and to the Governments of the Member States and candidate and applicant countries.