Combating discrimination against homosexuals

11 October 2008

Combating discrimination against homosexuals

Kathalijne Buitenweg, Member of the European Parliament for the Green Left, a small, pro-EU Dutch parliamentary party, set out recently in the Dutch press her arguments against discrimination on the grounds of race, gender or sexuality. In doing so she deliberately distorted the SP's views. Her colleague Kartika Liotard of the SP reacts.

"Any self-respecting political party, and any political party which has respect for the citizen, is naturally opposed to discrimination against homosexuals," says Liotard. "It is therefore unfortunate that Buitenweg creates the impression that the SP is 'recoiling' from a proposal for equal rights for all citizens. The SP is opposed to handing over any control to the EU, which the Green Left supports. The SP's position was supported by the referendum on the European Constitution: two-thirds of the population is opposed to any far-reaching transfer of powers. This is annoying for the Green Left, but it is the reality of the situation."

Support is more important than European laws

Buitenweg's suggestion that the logic of the SP's position is that solidarity with the oppressed is determined by national borders is incorrect. What we believe is that the Netherlands itself is and must remain responsible for combating such oppression. Why give powers up to a European executive that enjoys such little confidence? It's more a matter of providing support than of enacting more laws.


'We must denounce every form of discrimination. But discrimination against homosexuals in Poland will not be solved by introducing still more EU rules," Liotard insists. "All EU countries subscribe to anti-discrimination and are signatories to the European Declaration on Human Rights, including Poland. We must encourage these countries to become more tolerant, and this won't happen via the imposition of sanctions by the European Commission. For the SP this is not the way to be effective. The Green Left must first explain why it would be better for us to farm out our control over discrimination against homosexuals and in that way run the risk of sinking down to a European mean."

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