Europe gets mixed results in gay rights survey; Britain ranked top

by Astrid Zweynert | azweynert | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Wednesday, 14 May 2014 19:22 GMT

A participant waves a rainbow flag during the second Gay Pride parade in Split June 9, 2012. Several hundred participants attended the Split Gay Pride parade. REUTERS/Antonio Bronic

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New forms of criminalisation through the spread of anti-propaganda laws are spreading in some parts of Europe, survey by LGBTi umbrella group finds

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Respect for the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people varies considerably within Europe and new forms of criminalisation through the spread of anti-propaganda laws are spreading, according to a survey.

Britain came top in the 2014 “Rainbow Europe” survey with a score of 82 percent, while Russia was lowest at just six percent, according to ILGA-Europe, a European-wide network of organisations working for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTi) people.

The average score for all European countries was 46 percent, with 34 out of 49 European countries (including 14 member states of the European Union) all below the 50 percent mark.

“We definitely see improvements in several countries which adopt laws and public policies to ensure rights and protections for LGBTI people,” said Paulo Côrte-Real, co-chair of ILGA-Europe’s executive board. “But…there is still huge amount of work to be done before we reach full legal equality across Europe. Too many countries are still below average when it comes to providing the basic legal protection against discrimination and violence.”

Britain has come top for the last three years, and its score rose five percent from 2013. The first gay marriages took place in Britain in March, and in December 2013 it changed the law to allow same-sex couples to register their civil partnership on religious premises. The country also allows full joint adoption in England, Scotland and Wales since 2013.

Belgium and Spain were in second and third place, followed by the Netherlands and Norway.

Since the last survey in 2013, the fastest climbers were Malta (up 22%) and Montenegro (up 20%).

Malta in April adopted same-sex civil union laws, making it the 22nd European country to legally recognize same-sex unions and the 10th country in Europe to allow same-sex couples to jointly apply for child adoption.

However, the survey also highlights four main negative trends in Europe:

  • New forms of criminalisation of LGBTI people are increasing through the spread of anti-propaganda laws and some countries adopting laws and policies to restrict their human rights (Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Latvia and Ukraine)
  • While there is a growing consensus on marriage equality, Europe also witnesses the emergence of movements against marriage equality (France) and in favour of legal bans to pre-empt future changes of definitions of marriage (Croatia, Slovakia)
  • Homophobic and transphobic violence remains high and is often fuelled and validated by some political and religious authorities; violence against trans people remains particularly of great concern
  • Discrimination continues to occur virtually in all countries and in all spheres of lives of LGBTI people.

ILGA tracks the status and promotes the rights of LGBTi people, publishing its rights Rainbow Europe map and review every year.

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