Orlando Tragedy Sparks LGBT Rights Action Abroad

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For the first time in European history, the 28 European Union member states have reached a consensus on LGBT rights.The accord was reached Friday at the Council of the European Union based on a Netherlands-backed agreement that addressed women’s rights, gender equality and the protection of LGBT people across the EU.

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In an unprecedented move prompted by the June 11 LGBT shootings in Orlando, the 28 member Council states agreed to oppose “any discrimination” against LGBT people, and to accelerate pan-European efforts toward equality. All of this comes just days ahead of a British vote on whether to remain at all members of the union.

The agreement calls for each individual national government “to consider working together with the European Commission with regard to its List of actions to advance LGBTI equality”, and “to take action to combat discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity”.

In addition, the accord calls for the European Commission to prepare an annual LGBT rights progress report across every European country, evaluating LGBT rights status across a number of areas with recommendations for reform. (At this writing, the EU currently requires member states to adopt employment protections for members of the LGBT community, but there remains a significant disparity in both the existence and implementation of laws.

According to Dutch equalities minister Jet Bussemaker, “European cooperation is essential to efforts to fight global homophobia and strengthen women’s rights. With the dreadful attack in Orlando still fresh in our memories, I don’t need to explain why it’s so important for the EU to take a clear stand.”

Last modified: July 10, 2019