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Controversial Equal Treatment Directive Passed by the European Parliament

Katharina Rothweiler, C-FAM

(NEW YORK – C-FAM) In last week’s plenary session, the European Parliament (EP) voted 360 to 277 in favor of an “Anti-Discrimination Directive” that critics say paves the way for interference in the social policies of member states and strengthens the hand of homosexual activists. The legislative resolution, called the “Equal treatment of persons irrespective of religion or belief, disabilities or sexual orientation,” was voted on after passing the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs of the European Union (EU).

Originally intended to serve as an equal treatment directive for the disabled by prohibiting discrimination with respect to accessing “goods and services, including housing,” the directive was expanded to include the categories of religion or belief, age and “sexual orientation.”

Kathalijne Maria Buitenweg, Vice-President of the parliamentary working group of the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) and a member of the European Green Party, chaired the directive’s drafting committee and drew up the resolution. Buitenweg vigorously stressed the importance of “combating all forms of discrimination,” stating that “It must be possible for two men to occupy a hotel room” though it is unclear where in Europe this is not allowed.

Critics allege that non-governmental organizations pushing “homosexual rights,” such as ILGA, tried advancing their agenda by broadening the directive to encompass elimination of all forms of discrimination, explicitly adding discrimination based on “sexual orientation.” (ILGA has been rejected for UN status for non-governmental organizations for many years because of its connection to pedophile groups.)

Commentators see the directive as another example of the EU imposing one particular view of morality upon its member states. The tendency of the EU to exceed its mandate and impose its moral predilections upon countries was seen a few weeks ago when the Serbian parliament buckled to EU pressure by adopting an anti-discrimination law favored by homosexual rights advocates in the hope of becoming a member of the EU.

One example of intolerance in the name of tolerance is the case of Swedish Pastor Åke Green, who was convicted of violating a Swedish non-disparagement law for a sermon criticizing homosexual conduct as sinful, though his conviction was overturned on appeal. The ongoing fear is that the new sexual orientation provision invites further interference in member states’ national social policies and invites coercion of those who believe homosexual conduct to be immoral to act against their beliefs.

Before becoming binding on member states, the Anti-Discrimination Directive still must be voted on by the EU Council of Ministers, a separate body that effectively functions as an upper legislative chamber. The Council of Ministers is comprised of the ministers from each nation whose portfolio encompasses the issue being voted on. Each country’s vote is weighted in accordance with the relative size of its population, with the vote of Italy, France, Great Britain and Germany having the most weight and Malta the least.

Passage of the directive was attributable to a coalition of communist, liberal, socialist and Green parties.