On 11 March, two years after the first 'LGBT Free Zone Declaration’ was adopted in the Polish town of Świdnik, the European Parliament voted, on the initiative of Renew Europe, to declare the European Union a 'LGBTIQ Freedom Zone'.
Homophobia and transphobia do not have a place in Europe. From East to West, everyone must be granted the freedom to live without fear of discrimination or harassment due to sexual orientation and gender identity. In this act of support for all LGBTIQ people in the EU, Renew Europe has put pressure on the Commission and the Council to act against any EU government discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Pierre Karleskind MEP (LREM, FR), initiator of the resolution, said: "The European Parliament is sending a loud, clear and strong message to LGBTIQ people all around Europe: ‘Your freedom matters, your freedom will prevail!’ This vote is the starting point of an unstoppable counterattack of freedom against hatred in every corner of the European Union. You can count on me to wage this fight."
Sophie in' t Veld MEP (D66, NL), rapporteur for the resolution, added: "Europe belongs to all of us. It is home to all of us. Therefore, all of us must be free and safe in Europe. When some governments choose to condone or even endorse hatred against people based on who they are and whom they love, we must resist. From this day onward we show everyone that the Europe of freedom and acceptance is bigger and stronger, and it will ultimately prevail."
The violent clampdown on LGBTIQ activists in Poland and the attempt to ban adoption for same-sex couples in Hungary shows that the backlash against LGBTIQ rights in some EU countries is very real. Only last week, the Hungarian media authority initiated proceedings against a TV channel for broadcasting an advertisement about LGBTIQ families. Some countries are making the campaign against LGBTIQ rights a central part of their ruling ideology.