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23rd Jan 2022

Romanian socialist MEPs vote against LGBTIQ rights

  • European lawmakers adopted a resolution in favour of same-sex marriage (Photo: PES)
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Romanian socialist MEPs have joined right-wing nationalist Polish and Hungarian counterparts in voting against LGBTIQ rights.

The vote, earlier this week, follows a European Parliament resolution demanding, among other things, the recognition of same-sex marriage across the European Union.

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Eight-out-of-ten Romanian socialist MEPs voted against it, as Bucharest also ignores a three-year old European Court of Justice case defending the rights of same-sex partners.

It also follows the ouster of Hungary's Fidesz co-founder and disgraced ex-MEP József Szájer, caught in a gay orgy in Brussels during a country-wide lockdown last December.

Szájer's Hungarian colleagues at the European Parliament have since entrenched their anti-LGBTIQ positions with Budapest over the summer, passing legislation banning the "promotion" of homosexuality among children.

European Commission president Von der Leyen called the new law "a disgrace" and launched legal action against Hungary.

It also took legal recourse against Poland's ruling nationalist-conservative Law and Justice (PiS) over the spread of so-called "LGBTI ideology-free zones" among some 100 local authorities under the party's patronage.

"By starting infringement procedures against Hungary and Poland, the EU has finally clarified that member states can no longer act against human rights with impunity," said Katrin Hugendubel, advocacy director at the Brussels-based ILGA-Europe, an an umbrella organisation of over 600 LGBTIQ advocacy groups.

"This instrumentalisation of a vulnerable minority, which was first employed by Vladimir Putin in 2013 with the Russian anti-propaganda law, was providing an example to the governments of other EU member states leaning in this direction," said Hugendubel, in an email.

The NGO says there is a deadlock on LGBTIQ rights in the EU and Europe at the moment, following the annual publication of its Rainbow Map in May. It noted an increased political repression against LGBTIQ people last year, socio-economic hardships, and a spreading of LGBTI-phobic hatred across the region.

Although non-binding, the European Parliament resolution on LGBTIQ rights in the EU is seen as a victory for a community that remain stigmatised in those two member states.

The resolution also called for Union-wide equal rights for so-called rainbow families so that children do not become stateless when moving to other EU states.

It demanded the European Commission take action against Romania for failing to comply to a European Court of Justice ruling, which said free movement of spouses also apply to same-sex couples.

The resolution was adopted with 387 votes in favour, 161 against and 123 mostly centre-right MEPs abstaining.

Hungary's justice minister Judit Varga also weighed in.

"Interesting to see how divided the allegedly strong & united @Europarl_EN is. On a vote on a motion for resolution on LGBTIQ rights in the #EU, 99 @EPPGroup members abstained, while the relative majority was only exceeded by 7 percent," she said, in a tweet.

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