|Yahia Zaidi, ILGA|
|Yahia Zaidi, ILGA|
On the occasion of the 6th International Day Against Homophobia (which was celebrated for the first time on May 17th, 2005), EveryOne Group has sent a letter to the political institutions of the European Union – Parliament, Commission and Council – asking them for a serious debate, and to approve a directive on civil unions between same-sex couples, rights for LGBT couples and programmes for the younger generations teaching awareness and respect for all forms of sexual orientation.
On the occasion of the 6th International Day Against Homophobia (which was celebrated for the first time on May 17th, 2005), EveryOne Group has sent a letter to the political institutions of the European Union – Parliament, Commission and Council – asking them for a serious debate, and to approve a directive on civil unions between same-sex couples, rights for LGBT couples and programmes for the younger generations teaching awareness and respect for all forms of sexual orientation. “We are receiving a growing number of reports of discrimination against gays and transgenders,” explain the leaders of EveryOne Group, Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro and Dario Picciau, “but also about the difficulties that homosexual couples encounter in their daily lives when it comes to the law, bureaucracy and public administration. In Italy, more than in the other members states, gays and lesbians experience a situation of paradox. Even the relationship between household pets and their human friends is protected by certificates, microchips and name tags. A LGBT couple, on the other hand, has no rights to inheritance, or to council housing - and when one of the partners is admitted to hospital, the other partner is denied the opportunity to stay with the patient, something a relative is allowed to do”. The human rights organization, which in 2006 asked the European Union (together with the founder of the International Day Against Homophobia, Louis Georges Tin) to officially adopt May 17th as one of Europe’s annual celebrations (it was in fact established by the European Union the following year), is now drafting up a motion with the major LGBT associations, laying out for the benefit of the European Parliament the key-points to be debated in the resolution. “The first request concerns the basic rights of homosexual unions, which must have clear and binding laws in all 27 EU member states, and must guarantee and extend the fundamental rights of traditional couples to gay and lesbian unions,” say EveryOne. “Recognising homosexual unions is not a “gift” to a minority, but a first and fundamental step against homophobia - because denying the value of loving relationships in a minority means marginalizing and condemning the partners to live in a different and inferior dimension compared to that of the majority, which is a medieval vision of society. The hostility of the Church, which stems from age-old and anachronistic prejudice, must not be allowed to influence lay institutions, which in Europe are more and more human rights orientated. Our group is in contact with dozens of priests who do not approve of the Church’s anti-gay veto and is carrying out a constructive dialogue with the Vatican. It would also be appropriate to have a control structure to punish the many discriminatory declarations being made by intolerant parties. The serious insults pronounced recently by the councillor of the Northern League-Liga Veneta, Pietro Giovannoni, are part of the propaganda which shows no signs of abating - words uttered by politicians who today hold important institutional positions. It is a discriminatory strategy that aims at placing LGBT people in a position of social inferiority, a fact that is aided by much of the national press without any real form of criticism. All this helps to spread the germ of homophobia - so much so that the word “gay” these days is being used by children and adolescents as a insult. At the same time, there are no educational programmes encouraging tolerance and awareness of homosexuals throughout history and the culture of human society. Which child learns, either at school or in front of the TV, that Plato and Socrates, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo were homosexuals? Without knowledge, prejudice and misinformation take root in all walks of life: that is why it becomes necessary for the European Union to give out a strong message of tolerance, a message that is not merely a statement of circumstance, but one that finally leads to European laws and inviolable rights”.
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