SP votes in favour of report on discrimination against gays and lesbians

2 April 2009

SP votes in favour of report on discrimination against gays and lesbians

The SP voted this evening in favour of a report on 'equal treatment' and against discrimination on grounds of religion, ideology, disability, age or sexual orientation. Debate, however, centred on the last of these. What is the most effective and appropriate way to combat discrimination against gays and lesbians?


In the Dutch National Parliament the SP has spoken against the proposal, but not on the grounds cited by the Green Left Euro-MP Maria Buitenweg, who is responsible for the report. Buitenweg attempted to score political points by accusing the SP of being against her report on the grounds of its content, implying that the party was not consistently opposed to discrimination and that it was homophobic. In reality, the SP is a determined campaigner against such discrimination, but is opposed to the surreptitious extension of EU powers into new policy areas. The European Declaration of Human Rights, not an EU measure but one which predates the European Community by a decade, already outlaws discrimination and has been successfully invoked to protect the rights of homosexuals on a number of occasions.

Despite this, says SP Euro-MP Erik Meijer, the party's European Parliament group decided to support the report. "It's a complete misunderstanding to say we are somehow in favour of discrimination against homosexuals," says Meijer. "In my explanation of vote I will make it once again clear that today's debate is not about whether we should be addressing the question of discrimination, but what should be the content of any measure, the why and the how. We want above all to prevent any deterioration of the situation of homosexuals and ensure that the Netherlands is not brought down to some European average."

Effectiveness the priority

SP Euro-MP Kartika Liotard stated the party's position recently in a debate with Buitenweg's Green Left, a small pro-EU 'left' party, arguing that the most important question concerned the effectiveness of bringing in more EU rules: Discrimination against homosexuals in Poland will not be solved by the European Commission imposing more EU rules from on high," she said. "It's a matter rather of supporting the struggle from below."

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