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Thursday, January 19, 2006

EU threatens to punish countries opposed to gay marriage


MADRID, Spain (CNA) -- The European Union Justice Affairs commissioner Franco Frattini announced this week at the EU Parliament in Strasburg that member states that do not eliminate all forms of discrimination against homosexuals, including the refusal to approve “marriage” and unions between same-sex couples, would be subject to sanctions and eventual expulsion from the EU.

According to a report by the Archdiocese of Madrid news service, Analisis Digital, the commissioner’s statements came as the governments of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland ruled against legalizing homosexual “marriage.”

“Homophobia is a violation of human rights and we are watching member states on this issue and reporting on cases in which our efforts have been unsuccessful,” Fratti said. In this way “the commission and the European Parliament seek to make any refusal to grant homosexual couples the same rights as a married couple a crime of ‘homophobia,’” the report warned.

Frattini, who was elected EU commissioner after the EU Parliament rejected the nomination of Catholic intellectual and friend of John Paul II, Rocco Buttiglione, because of his opposition to homosexual unions, has proposed “designating 2007 as the year of Equal Opportunity.”

“The objectives would be to inform the public about their rights, promote diversity and, as a value of the Union, make this goal a priority,” he added.

Some EU parliamentarians demanded specific sanctions against states that do not follow the anti-discrimination law and refuse to call homosexual unions “marriage,” for example.

Michael Cashman, president of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights, proposed expulsion from of the EU of those countries that “do not adhere to anti-discrimination legislation.”

“If we do nothing we are accomplices in the crimes of violence that we see occurring in many member states,” said Cashman, who is also vice president of the organization Gay & Lesbian Humanists. The organization’s Web site says it is at war with “Catholic-inspired homophobia.”

Nevertheless, reports Analisis Digital, these proposals have been contested by Polish EU representative Jan Tadeusz Masiel, who called the adoption of children by homosexual couples “repulsive” and “shocking.” Likewise, her fellow Polish EU representative, Barbara Kurdycka, said the EU Parliament had no business telling people what they should think about homosexuality.

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