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Liberals in Europe key group for LGBT rights

February 28, 2012 4:30 PM

Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford has expressed disappointment at the defeat of a key paragraph in a European Parliament committee vote on a report on EU citizens' rights. This paragraph demanded full freedom of movement with legal rights for same-sex couples and an end to Member States' obstruction of a 2004 EU law meant to achieve this.

The right-wing parties succeeded in deleting this paragraph by just 3 votes in the Petitions committee because of the behaviour of MEPs from the European Socialist & Democratic group (S&D), to which British Labour party MEPs belong. The S&D has 8 votes on the committee but only 4 or 5 of their MEPs were present and in any case they had a free vote rather that a disciplined group position in favour.

Sarah Ludford, who is Vice President of the LGBT+ Liberal Democrat group commented:

"If the Socialists had bothered, the call for equal treatment would have been comfortably voted through. The LGBT community has been badly let down by the Socialist and Labour MEPs going AWOL on this occasion and failing to stand up for an end to discrimination."

"In contrast the ALDE Liberal & Democrat group was fully present and united in ending discriminatory non-recognition of same sex registered partnerships and marriages when people move across borders in the EU. We are the only major political force in Europe which offers unwavering guarantees of equality to Europe's LGBT citizens."

"ALDE will seek to restore this vital paragraph at the plenary vote, and hopefully the S&D group can then fully support us. Although it is not a legislative report, it would be a significant setback if the European Parliament was to resile from the position it has established of backing for LGBT including same-sex couples' rights across the EU."

Notes to Editors

The report can be found here:

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//NONSGML+COMPARL+PE-473.706+02+DOC+PDF+V0//EN&language=EN