The member states of the European Union must adopt a joint procedure for the recognition of same-sex couples and create conditions in which sexual minorities do not face discrimination, MEPs agreed in a September resolution on the rights of the LGBTIQ community.
“The EU must adopt a common approach to the recognition of same-sex marriages and partnerships; calling on the member states to specifically introduce the relevant legislation,” says a non-binding mid-September call approved by 387 out of 671 MEPs.
The move has faced pushback from conservatives in the EU, especially from Eastern countries that hold a more traditional view on marriage. For example, only 12 percent of Romanians would approve expanding LGBT rights and the vast majority believe marriage should be recognized as a union between a man and a woman, and polling data from Poland show the same viewpoints on same-sex marriage as Romania are prevalent.
Most in Western Europe, especially the political, academic and media class, view the matter differently and believe that marriage rights should extend to all, setting up an ideological battle that is sure to further split the East-West cultural war that is not only split on LGBT rights, but also religion, migration, and family values. Regarding LGBT rights, the East argues that LGBT groups are safer than they are in the West, where they often face violent attacks from migrants who are hostile to their lifestyle. At the same time, the Eastern perspective argues that LGBT groups are free to practice their lifestyle, but that does not guarantee them the right to push their sexuality into public life or the educational system or partake in what most Eastern Europeans believe should remain a union between a man and a woman.
European anti-discrimination plan
The European Parliament refers to the first-ever plan to combat discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and other groups (LGBTIQ), presented by the European Commission in November for the next five years.
As part of the new joint strategy, the EU executive plans to create a regime where discrimination is policed in all facets of society.
The Commission also wants to end the practice when a homosexual couple made up of people from different countries adopt a child in one member state but do not have the same rights in another. In addition, marriages should be recognized across states.
In this context, MEPs also appreciated the European Commission’s commitment to broadening the definition of hate crimes to include homophobic hate speech.
A priority for the Czechs as well?
The situation also directly affects the Czech Republic, which will take over the presidency of the EU Council in July of the following year, according to Czech news portal Novinky. According to MEPs, the issue of people with a minority sexual orientation should be included among the priorities of the presidencies.
In the Czech Republic, Christian Democratic leader Marian Jurečka started a debate about the marriage of same-sex couples, stating that the Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL) would demand guarantees that a possible government coalition would not approve same-sex marriage.
Later, however, he withdrew the statement, stating that the parties would still have a free vote.