Tories and UKIP vote against EU strategy on LGBT rights

The Tories' and UKIP have failed to stand up for LGBT people


This week, in a landmark vote, the European Parliament demanded that the EU adopt a strategy to combat homophobia and promote LGBT rights. Yet Conservative and UKIP MEPs voted against these calls, with one Tory MEP claiming they amounted to “social engineering” from Brussels.

This is a fundamental misreading of the facts. EU anti-discrimination laws don’t dictate to individual governments how they should organise their societies. Instead they put in place minimum standards across the board that protect LGBT people from abuse and discrimination, including British citizens travelling abroad in the EU.

As we all know, the fight against homophobia in Britain is far from over. Yet in many parts of Europe it has scarcely begun. In 2013 a survey found that a quarter of gay people in the EU had suffered homophobic attacks. In a number of Eastern European countries the situation for LGBTI communities remains bleak; Latvia has introduced a series of anti-gay propaganda laws and in Hungary children as young as 10 were recently being taught that homosexuality is a ‘deadly sin’.

It is in this context that EU legislation defending LGBT rights is particularly important. EU laws already prevent discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in the area of access to employment, meaning LGBT people cannot be discriminated against when applying for a job.

But a stronger law, blocked by a number of EU national governments since 2008, would extend these protections to education and the buying of goods and services. This week the European Parliament issued a strong demand that this legislation should be put back on the table and called for a coordinated EU strategy to tackle homophobia.

For UKIP to oppose these calls is not surprising. They are hardly known as a party that espouses tolerance, openness and international cooperation.

Yet the Tories’ failure to stand up for EU legislation that protects LGBT people from discrimination is more worrying. It is time for them to acknowledge that this is not about pesky interference from Brussels, it is about defending the rights of millions of LGBT people across Europe who face fear and discrimination.

Catherine Bearder is a Liberal Democrat MEP

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21 Responses to “Tories and UKIP vote against EU strategy on LGBT rights”

  1. swat

    Hi, as a Lib Dem MEP, shouldn’t that have read ‘Tories and UKIP and Tim Farron vote against … etc etc etc’

  2. JoeDM

    We did not vote UKIP for their MEPs to support EU policy. We voted UKIP to disrupt the work of the EU as much as possible

  3. Happy65

    UKIP doesn’t need Brussels to instruct it about LGBT rights…Ask UKIP LGBTgroup..UK sovereignty reigns supreme in equality and fairness!

  4. CarolBOlivares

    nowRead this leftfootforward….. Here’s a Blog


  5. Selohesra

    We lose the spam from LeonWolfeson and then we get this

  6. damon

    This LBGT acronym is a load of rubbish in my opinion. It’s a dishonest political agenda.
    Lumping all those categories together is designed to shoe in transgender on the coattails of the LGB part. Transgender is a hugely subjective and emotion led issue. And a broad one too.
    See the recent nonsence over the former Olympian decathlete.

    See link here in Spiked about that case.

    And a heads up to a comment under that article by ”Guderian”.
    It’s funny, and also right.

  7. damon

    Where’s Leon gone?

  8. Selohesra

    He’s still alive as I found him posting elsewhere – so either barred or lost interest in this site

  9. MariaJTorres

    nowRead this leftfootforward. ….. Here’s a Blog


  10. ChrisTavareIsMyIdol

    Why didn’t we introduce these laws in the UK Parliament when Labour were in power? Or are they all already in place in the UK and it’s just the rest of the EU that needs to catch up?

  11. Tim

    No it really is about pesky interference from Brussels. You can care about LGBT rights but be against such matters being an EU competency. This is obvious – you would think.

  12. Alastair Houghton

    “in Hungary children as young as 10 were recently being taught that homosexuality is a ‘deadly sin’”

    What, you mean they were being brought up as Catholics? (Shock, horror!)

    To be clear, Catholicism, in common with various other branches of Christianity, views homosexual acts as a deadly sin. But it does separate sin from sinner, and merely being homosexual is not itself a sin — it’s only acting on it that is supposedly sinful, and they cite the Bible as authority for this position.

    To be ENTIRELY clear, I am not religious. I do, however, think that it’s important not to misrepresent the views of those who are on these kinds of topics. Christians have, in my view, been treated rather unfairly in the press on this issue because of a total failure to understand that it’s homosexual acts and not homosexuality itself that they find objectionable. You might well retort that they have no business worrying about what you do in your bedroom, and I think most of them would actually agree with you — but when it’s actually *their* bedroom (e.g. they run a B&B and you’re staying in it), it wouldn’t hurt for you to show a little sympathy.

  13. Tim

    Catherine Bearder is *the* Liberal Democrat MEP << Fixed it for ya.

  14. Thomas Evans

    Catherine Bearder truly is a vile person.

    She talks about tolerance whilst denying people a vote on our EU membership.

    I look forward to her losing her seat in 2019.

  15. Helen F

    Homosexuality is classed as a ‘mortal sin’, not a deadly sin within Catholicism. And as a Catholic, I was not raised to consider Homosexuals to be deviants or objectionable. In fact sexual orientation was never mentioned during religious education. And the churches teaching is, a homosexual is not a sinner, but homosexual acts are a sin. So in case you missed the point, its ok to be homosexual, as long as you do not commit homosexual acts with another.

    Personally. I’m all for Gay rights, I have no problem with anyones sexual or gender orientation.

  16. Alastair Houghton

    🙂 I think I said pretty much the same thing you just did (except you’re right, I should have corrected “deadly sin” to “mortal sin”). The point (and it’s an important one) is that traditional Christianity has a problem with homosexual ACTS, not with homosexual PEOPLE.

  17. Hailey Rose

    Why is it so much to ask that people be treated the same as other people? Why do everyone’s personal (and IMO bollocks) beliefs get to come into play when it comes down to treating others with basic respect??? “i can deny you goods and services and treat you like shite… because I was raised Catholic (or whatever religion).” What???


    Maybe the Papist Church should explain why they are aginst homosexual acts considering the priestbood is riddled with homosexuals and paedos.

  19. Alastair Houghton

    They may be “bollocks”, but I think people get pretty upset if you try to force them to act against their beliefs. I think there needs to be a bit of sensitivity here on both sides. I don’t think there’s any need to force people to act against their beliefs over baking a cake or even a room in a B&B — there are other bakers and other B&Bs, after all.

    Obviously where there’s only one option (e.g. we’re talking about the state), or where some belief is especially objectionable (e.g. FGM, “witchcraft” and so on) things are different. But using the law to bludgeon bakers and B&B owners is ugly, unpleasant and unnecessary.

  20. Alastair Houghton

    The explanation is well known; it says so in the Bible (Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 are commonly cited).

    As for the behaviour of the priesthood, you’re right that they have a lot to answer for.

  21. TheCitizenAct

    I agree. It’s only a shame so many left-wing commentators fail to stand up for women in the face of the barbaric and antiquated Islamic value system. For example, pre GE 2015, Harriet Harman declared it would be rude to interfere with a Labour Party event segregated along gender lines to appeal to Muslim voters. After Charlie Hebdo, there was a whole country of progressive journalists just ready and waiting to co-opt the narrative and tell us Islam is a ‘religion of peace’, while highlighting the crimes perpetrated by those at Charlie Hebdo (apparently they were being provocative).

    As for same-sex marriage, I think it should be legalised. However I also deplore the hypocrisy – if the morality is ‘people should be free to marry whoever they choose’, then that same morality must extend to incestuous relationships, polygamy, etc. The progressives who label all those who take moral opposition to homosexuality as ‘bigots’ would never extend shaming tactics to anyone who was to declare incestuous marriage to be morally repugnant. Really, their bigotry is only slightly ‘superior’ (and far more hypocritical).

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