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Europe cannot impose recognition of same-sex partnerships says EU Commissioner

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  1. Robert, ex-pat Brit 17 Oct 2008, 2:43pm

    “Within European legislation we have gone as far as we can go,” said Mr Spidla.

    What a spineless comment and what can we expect? If this were about anti-semitism, anti-islam, anti-ethnic, even anti-straight, you can bet we’d see swift legislation enacted across every member state. Time for LGBT people across the entire union to join forces and hold these spineless bureaucrats’ feet to the fire, or else.

  2. i sort of agree with you Robert, The EU can and does impose a wide range of legislation across all member states when it has the desire to do so. I’m not a hundred percent sure about how it should proceed with this issue though, particularly with the new EU states. Legalisation and an equal age of consent were forced on a lot of them as a prerequisite for joining, as they should have been, BUT we’ve seen in poland and the baltic states how much hompohobia there still is. To try and force the recognition of gay marriage on countries like these at the moment would not necessarily be workable unless a majority the old EU countries were on board, and portugals rejection of gay marriage earlier this week along with berlusconi’s reelection in italy show that that is a long way off. I don’t want to start the whole marriage v civil partnership debate again, as i know we have different views but Gay marriage is far more contraversial than granting equal rights under a term like civil partnership, especially in catholic countries like italy, portugal, poland, because of the whole GOD issue with marriage. But equally the piece meal approach with some countries having full marriage, some civil partnerships and some like france much looser arrangements like PACS doesn’t help either. I do think getting those states that have official recognition of gay relationships to recognise each others arrangeements is the first step. And the list is surprisingly long: the uk, holland, belgium, spain, france, germany, denmark, sweden, czech republic, hungary, soon to be ireland, luxembourg, norway, slovenia. But i do think that pressing to call this arrangement “marriage” would delay the situation for years potentially decades. It’ll be interesting to see what happens in the US, if california manages to retain gay marriage and if Under an Obama victory, more states follow. I think that would have as much effect on public opinion in the homophobic nations of formally eastern europe as another EU directive…

  3. David Griff 17 Oct 2008, 6:08pm

    We have come to a point now where the older EU countries could not practically leave the EU without severe economic collapse…well atleast quicker than it might happen already, and political isolation and the newer members would not leave for the same reasons: I believe this is one of the things the EU was created for the kind of issue I would say that could be best handled by all countries together instead of individual states even if we have to dilute it a bit. However, I think we absolutely have to force all EU members that already have some sort of relationship recognition to recognise eachothers.

  4. john wilfred sharp 18 Oct 2008, 5:24am

    all counties in Europe must have the same respect for minorities.
    if they refuse Europe then stay out. no one forced them to enter . the EU. Gays lesbians bi and trans are 10% of the population in all countries of the world . we are born gay. religious lies should be banned .

  5. Thankfully Ireland voted No to the European union. This union is not about the people within Europe, its about the free movement of money. The EU is just on big disappointment, and if the EU can not act in the best interest of all of its people, it should be abandoned by the people.(and has).

  6. Robert, ex-pat Brit 18 Oct 2008, 1:45pm

    Andy, I understand the points you made. Out of all nations where equality is offered in varying degrees and forms, Spain was the most stunning of all, a heavily catholic country but managed to garner more than 60% of its population to support full marriage, an extraordinary and amazing accomplishment, civil partnerships weren’t even an option. If Spain can do it, so can the rest. Look at Canada, a commonwealth member. Who would have thought? Without a uniform standard on legal recognition for same-sex couples, allowing each member state to form its own version of equality will only result in more chaos and confusion. Look at PACS and Civil Partnerships, vast differences between them for sure. Unless both countries or any other country confer identical rights, then its going to create a system of unfairness wherein if the couple of mixed nationality, say one Englishman and Frenchman contract a civil partnership, they will enjoy far more rights by residing in the UK but in France they would not. I don’t see any fairness or equality in that even if there were reciprocal recognition currently in place.

    As for the situation in California….my gut feeling is that the law will remain unchanged, marriage for gay couples will remain on the books, I have to be optimistic about that. The state of New Jersey is also mulling full marriage equality and abandoning its civil unions, they already enjoy all the rights and privileges of marriage at the state level, its just the name change that will be needed to implement it. Vermont may follow suit and New York state where I live most of the year, same-sex marriage legislation is already drafted and waiting for a vote in the event of a defeat of conservative control of the state senate and will become the first state to legislate for full marriage equality. Once more states in the U.S. approve marriage equality, I think this will in turn affect the current mindset in the EU, no question about it. Its going to pose serious economic and employment implications for those EU countries where one is barred from marrying once the ball starts rolling in the U.S. which it already is, its inevitable. Virtually no democrats will oppose any state legislation for full marriage equality, though most conservatives will. I’m hopeful and I know we will get there, sooner than the rest of the EU. I think civil partnerships should remain for those who prefer them to marriage, but we should all have the option to marry if we so choose.

  7. “Thankfully Ireland voted No to the European union.”

    Actually, James, that statement couldn’t be further from the truth. Ireland voted no to the Lisbon treaty… that very different from rejection of the EU. If you bothered to read Euro barometer Polls, you would see that the Irish are pone of the most Pro-EU people in Europe. The rejection for the treaty was mostly due to our want to protect our neutrality and the protection of our constitution… whether its true that Lisbon could affect this is up for debate, but both are something we Irish have fought long and hard for and are quite proud of.

    Don’t tag the Irish to you own dislike of the EU, you couldn’t be more wrong.

  8. if nothing else, the EU is the best way of avoiding another pan-European conflict. However, as part of tha it must ensure thatt there is no crap of allowing bigotry to go unchallenged.

    Because that’s what the jews, gypsies, Slavs and gays experienced

  9. discrimination is a violation of human rights.

  10. Krister karttunen 20 Oct 2008, 12:45pm

    EU has been surprisingly active in human rights and environmental issues, given its primary focus in commerce. Without EU-legislation the situation for gays would be much worse in most of the new member states, and in some old. For example, most countries had to trim their laws because of the directive about discrimination at work, and I hope that the planned new directive on discrimination will move even further.

    In rejecting the Lisbon treaty, Irish people rejected among other things the document on fundamental rights. Perhaps the voters did not want to stop discrimination of gays and other minorities or were afraid that, for example, abortion might be legalized.

    PS. Finland has civil partnership for gays and lesbians with rights and duties equal to marriage (except adoption).

  11. Look, Krister karttunen, perhaps you should stop these ill-informed angry outbursts against the Irish, when you clearly didn’t even bother to read the newspapers as to why the Irish voted no to Lisbon.

    The Irish people voted no to protect their constitution, among other things. Ireland is democracy and no law can change our constitution without the say of the people, and people felt Lisbon went too far with handing over certain areas of Irish neutrality and the primacy of our constitution.

    Lisbon did not bring in any new forms of anti-discrimination against LGBT people as you imply, and its very foolish and somewhat ego-centric of you to assume that an entire country will vote for something like Lisbon for your benefit and to hell with their other considerations, like maintaining their democracy.

    Perhaps you should be asking yourself why YOUR government didn’t put Lisbon to referendum? What’s lacking in your democracy that means a treaty like this can simply be passed without the direct will of the people?

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