184 MEPs, including the President of the European Parliament came together this week to sign a pledge in support of LGBT rights, following a two-day long awareness event.

Martin Schulz MEP, president of the European Parliament, along with dozens of MEPs gathered over Tuesday and Wednesday to show support for LGBT rights, at an event to mark the halfway point of the current mandate, organised by IGLA-Europe and the LGBT Intergroup of the European Parliament.

At the event, Schulz said: “As the President of the European Parliament, you can count on me to join the fight for the goals of equality laid out in the Be Bothered Pledge.”

Following the event, 184 MEPs signed the Be Bothered Pledge, a 10 point manifesto launched in 2009 by IGLA-Europe, which aims to move forward LGBTI rights across the EU. The European Parliament has 754 MEPs in total.

As well as the massive response to the pledge, the LGBT Intergroup at the European Parliament also saw an increase in support, as it now holds 127 members from 22 Member States and 5 political groups.

Co-presidents of the LGBT Intergroup, Ulrike Lunacek and Michael Cashman MEPs, said:

“We are pleased so many colleagues turned up, and of course that our new president added his important support. LGBT rights are gathering ever more allies from across the political spectrum, and the next two and a half years will be crucial to achieve much-needed progress in Europe.”

Martin K.I. Christensen, Co-Chair of the Executive Board of ILGA-Europe, also commented:

“We are very pleased that MEPs increasingly support the human rights of LGBT people. So far the Be Bothered! Pledge has been signed by MEPs from all but one political group. Europe is witnessing an increase of extreme and intolerant views. Therefore MEPs’ support and commitment are crucial for keeping the EU free from extremism, hatred, and discrimination.”

This step towards success for the battle for equality by groups in the European Parliament comes shortly after Michael Bloom questioned the legitimacy of IGLA-Europe’s funding structures, with UKIP saying he was “looking out for the interest of the taxpayer”.