Wednesday

6th Jul 2022

Catalonia passes historic anti-homophobia law

Catalonia’s new anti-homophobe legislation could see offenders fined up to €14,000 for attacks carried out against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals (LGTB).

The Catalan chamber passed the bill on Thursday (2 October) in what has been described as a first in Spain.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

“Without sanctions, this law would be a mere statement of intent. This is meant as a deterrent,” Anna Simo, of the leftist Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC), was quoted as saying in El Pais.

The legislation requires a person accused of homophobia to prove their innocence in a twist which has drawn criticism from the autonomous community’s Catholic base and conservative political groups alike.

Bishops of Catalonia over the weekend expressed some reservations that the law could also erode a person’s presumption of innocence.

The conservative Popular Party (PP) and the Catalan nationalists of Unio had vetoed the law but were outnumbered by the Catalan socialists and other left wing groups.

A global survey published by Pew Research over the summer suggests Spain appears to be the country most accepting of homosexuality worldwide. Eighty-eight percent of those surveyed agreed that "homosexuality should be accepted".

Same sex couples have also been allowed to marry since 2005.

At the same time, the EU-funded European Men to Men Internet Survey showed that 40 percent of gay respondents and 45 percent of bisexual respondents in Spain had suffered violence or intimidation within a year of the survey.

“I feel furious when someone appears to deny or play down the discrimination that we gays have suffered or run the risk of suffering,” Miquel Iceta, a Catalan socialist, was cited as saying in the Spanish press.

The European Commission, for its part, has been reluctant to formulate an EU-wide policy to combat homophobia and to protect the rights of the LGBT community.

Pro-gay rights groups, MEPs and 11 EU ministers are pressing the commission to come up with a proposal.

Earlier this year, the European Parliament passed a resolution for the EU legislator to come up with a roadmap in order to ensure LGBT people are treated equally throughout the 28-member bloc.

Asked about putting forward a roadmap during her grilling by MEPs last week, EU justice commissioner-designate Vera Jourova said the EU’s broad anti-discrimination directive was good enough.

Pegasus spyware makers grilled by MEPs

"We will not continue to work with a customer that is targeting a journalist illegally," Chaim Gelfand, chief compliance officer of NSO Group told MEPs — but shed little light on EU governments' use of its Pegasus spyware.

Opinion

Romania — latest EU hotspot in backlash against LGBT rights

Romania isn't the only country portraying lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people as a threat to children. From Poland and Hungary in EU, to reactionary movements around the world are prohibiting portrayals of LGBT people and families in schools.

News in Brief

  1. Turkey signs Nato protocol despite Sweden extradition row
  2. European gas production hit by Norway strike
  3. EU Commission told to step up fight against CAP fraud
  4. Ukraine needs €719bn to rebuild, says PM
  5. Germany records first monthly trade deficit since 1991
  6. Pilots from Denmark, Norway, and Sweden strike
  7. Report: EU to sign hydrogen deal with Namibia
  8. Israel and Poland to mend relations

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  4. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  6. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022

Latest News

  1. 'World is watching', as MEPs vote on green finance rules
  2. Turkey sends mixed signals on Sweden's entry into Nato
  3. EU Parliament sued over secrecy on Nazi MEP expenses
  4. Italy glacier tragedy has 'everything to do' with climate change
  5. The Digital Services Act — a case-study in keeping public in dark
  6. Report slams German opposition to new child sexual abuse rules
  7. Is China a challenge to Nato? Beijing responds
  8. ECB announces major green shift in corporate bond-buying

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us