Tension over Europe's gay rights role

Published: October 28, 2010

UOBSERVER / THE HAGUE – Gay rights organisations openly acknowledge the crucial role played by European institutions in securing recent advances in the area, but concerns over top-down decision making and rising bureaucracy tell a more nuanced backstory.

Delegates at the 14th ILGA-Europe annual conference in The Hague on Thursday (28 October) also expressed fears over growing social conservatism in a post-recession Europe, and pointed to the recent Roma debacle as highlighting divergences between EU legislation and implementation on the ground.

ILGA co-chairs Linda Freimane and Martin Christensen were speaking at the body’s 14th annual meeting in The Hague (Photo: Bamshad Houshyani)

"This year’s pride marches have been success stories … despite confrontations," said Linda Freimane, co-chair of the international umbrella group which represents over 300 lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex organisations.

A Council of Europe recommendation agreed in March was also widely heralded as an important new tool for activists fighting discrimination linked to sexual orientation or gender identity.

The European Court of Human Rights referred to the non-binding text in a landmark decision this October when it ruled against Moscow’s decision to ban gay pride marches in recent years.

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