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Latvia, Poland Snub EU Gay Declaration

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Latvia, Poland Snub EU Gay Declaration

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

June 16, 2006 - 1:00 pm ET

(London) While the European Parliament was passing a motion calling on all EU countries to toughen their laws to deal with hate crimes the Latvian Parliament was stripped sexuality from its non-discrimination law.

The law was originally passed in 2004 as a condition of European Union membership.

Despite the requirement the law was never implemented and on Thursday, Parliament voted to remove the LGBT protections.

Debate on the amendment was heated and filled with homophobia. Members of the majority Christian Democratic Party called gays "degenerate", "sick" and in need of being "cured".

The vote makes Latvia the only EU member state without legislation specifically outlawing discrimination at work and in housing on the grounds of sexual orientation.

Earlier this year Latvia amended its constitution to bar same-sex marriage.

Meanwhile, Poland, which came under particularly strong criticism in the European Parliament on Thursday for its treatment of gays (story) has denied it is targeting its LGBT community.

Prime minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz dismissed the MEP resolution.

"I know Poland a bit better than the European parliament does, and I have not encountered such behavior,” he told the Polish news agency PAP.

Urszula Krupa, a Member of the European Parliament representing the League of Polish Families party said the accusations against Poland had been fabricated.

“Poland and the Poles are being slandered in the European Parliament by a liberal ‘internationale’ which controls the world’s mass media,” she told Reuters.

The League is a constant critic of gay rights in Poland and a youth group tied to the party attempted to break up a gay march in Warsaw last year.

The march had been banned by mayor Lech Kaczynski who is now Poland's president. It was the second year he had banned the pride parade.

This year for the first time gays were allowed to hold a parade.

Despite the reaction for Poland and Latvia the European Parliament's resolution has been hailed by the International Lesbian and Gay Association.

“We all heartedly welcome this resolution and the determination of the European Parliament to address homophobia and other forms of prejudice and discrimination in the European Union," said Riccardo Gottardi, Co-Chair of ILGA-Europe Executive Board.

"We believe it is now the time to take very concrete and serious actions to make it clear to everyone in the European Union that homophobia and other forms of discriminations are not accepted and will be dealt with in the most serious manner."

©365Gay.com 2006

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