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Buttiglione / European Parliament

in BELGIUM, 27/10/2004

ILGA Europe & Catholics for a free choice object to Prof. Buttiglione’s appointment as Commissioner

Catholics for a Free Choice and ILGA-Europe are concerned at the recent attempt by some to shift of focus in the debate around the nomination of Prof. Buttiglione as Vice President and Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security from his positions and qualifications for service to the claim that he is a victim of anti-Catholicism.

This claim has been made by some Conservative MEPs and the Vatican. It is, of course, totally without merit and as is often the case with these kinds of claims raised by those who have no good answers to the substance of the critique against Buttiglione’s qualifications.

The work done by Catholics for a Free Choice and ILGA-Europe in raising concerns with the MEPs prior to and after the hearings of Buttiglione by the LIBE and JURI committees was not an attack on Prof. Buttiglione’s faith and religion. As human rights organisations we believe that the freedom of thought, conscience and religion is a fundamental right.

Our objection to Prof. Buttiglione’s appointment as Commissioner is because of his dismal record on women’s rights and the civil rights of homosexuals and as a Minister of European Affairs for Italy, has not upheld the EU principle of non-discrimination in his own country.

It is evident from past statements made by Prof. Buttiglione regarding women and homosexuals that he is not capable of separating his personal beliefs from the values and policies that he must uphold in the post he has been nominated for. At the hearing by the JURI Committee, Prof. Buttiglione admitted that if a proposal were contrary to his moral principles, he would oppose it.

It is important to point out that a majority of European Catholics—including Catholics who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons—profoundly disagree with Prof. Buttiglione’s discriminatory positions on women and homosexuals. In fact, on October 19, more than 150 European Catholics sent a letter to the president of the Commission objecting to Buttiglione’s appointment.

In deciding on your vote in relation to the proposed Commission we urge you to take these considerations into account, and be assured that to object to the appointment of Buttiglione is not an act of anti-Catholicism but an act of public service to the people and nations of the European Union.

Yours Sincerely,

Elfriede Harth
European Representative
Catholics for Free Choice

Patricia Prendiville
Executive director
ILGA-Europe

Brussels, 20th October 2004
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