Thursday, January 30, 2014

Controversial “Lunacek-report” discussed and voted in the European Parliament next week

We want to have Human Rights for All, Not Special Rights for One

Shortly after the Estrela report was defeated, a new initiative has been introduced, the “Lunacek Report” officially known as “EU Roadmap against homophobia and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity” (2013/2183). Adopted by the European Parliament Committee for Civil Liberties (LIBE), the European Parliament will vote on this report next week on 4 February.


I agree when the Report asserts that LGBTI persons should have the same human rights as everyone else. This is an assertion that can be fully supported. The very purpose of Human Rights, the European Convention and other international human rights documents is to grant a minimum level of protection of the integrity of every person because everyone has equal worth and dignity.

However, the Lunacek Report turns this fundamental equality upside down by claiming that specific LGBTI rights should now be considered as human rights. By “Queering fundamental rights”, the EU Parliament creates a new fundamental rights strategy by according special rights and privileges to a group of citizens because of their individual and sexual behavior. By this report, the European Parliament intends to mainstream homosexuality as a new global societal norm and public policies in the EU. This disrespects the principle that human rights should be fully and equally enjoyed by all citizens. Besides it exceeds EU competences and also seeking to impose an obligation to legally recognized same-sex marriages on all Member States.

What can we do?



Creating LGBTI veto rights as a new global norm
With this report, The European Parliament intends to mainstream LGBTI rights throughout the relevant EU policies as a new global societal norm, mirroring the approach adopted in the Gender Equality Strategy. According to the European Dignity Watch “this would effectively result in a sort of veto rights against all and everything” it disrespects the principle that human rights should be fully and equally enjoyed by all citizens, and instead creates a two-class society in which the rights of one social group receive grater consideration than those of all other citizens; For example “hate speech” and “hate crimes” against LGBTI people are put subject to specific criminal sanctions and the question is why this is more valid for LGBTI than for other people.

Exceeding competences: hate speech, education and marriage
This new norm does only not apply to issues of non-discrimination at the labour market but to all public policies, i.e. civil law (gay marriage), hate speech and education. The question for example is, why are these provisions on hate speech and hate crime are more valid for the LGBT? The provisions concerning hate speech and the freedom of expression for the LGBTI in the report could mean that there is an unrestricted freedom of speech for the “gay community” contrasted by institutionally ordained restriction on speech for all possible critics.

No provision is made to protect the right of the people to self-determination, the right of parents to educate their children “in the way they deem most suitable or to protect children from being confronted by the whole gamut of different sexual lifestyles and orientations” (European Dignity Watch)

Therefore it disrespects the principle of subsidiarity and it seeks to impose an obligation to legally recognize same-sex marriages on all Member States, including those where it is explicitly ruled out by constitutional law.

Questionable procedure: to be voted in the plenary without debate
Besides:  it is the result of a very questionable procedure: the parliamentary committees competent for Health, Legal Affairs, and Education appear to have been deliberately sidelined, although the draft deals with those matters. The draft is now scheduled to be voted in Plenary without debate (which is the exactly same strategy that was used for the Estrela-Report). In other words: this report is a “cuckoo’s egg”: it represents the attempt to get a document adopted of which the MEPs know only the title, but not the content;

Based on biased and unscientific surveys
The entire Report is based on a controversial LGBT survey conducted by the Fundamental Rights Agency earlier this year. The poor scientific quality of this survey has been largely criticized and its outcomes were predictable as soon as the questions were published. The questions were seen as leading and suggestive and the report is seen as biased on unscientific. Please see an analysis of this survey here. This resulted in dramatic findings such as that “nearly all participating LGBT persons reported to have been victims of harassment and violence”. In parallel, the European Parliament’s LIBE Committee requested an in-depth study from the Brussels based “independent think tank” Milieu LTD. The authors of that study, Vanessa Leigh and Levent Altan, were joined by the director of ILGA (International Lesbian and Gay Association), Evelyn Paradis. In other words: the European Parliament in-depth “Study” has in fact been co-authored by the chief lobbyist of the LGBT community. A similar survey with the same questions in the UK lead to drastic different and much more modest outcomes than the survey used for the Lunacek report.  

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