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2 Reasons America Isn’t Good Enough for the European Union

The European Union reminded three countries — Turkey, Macedonia, and Croatia — that they must first support LGBT rights before they’ll be considered for full membership. This entails taking “appropriate action to combat discrimination based on sex or sexual orientation” in “employment, access to goods and service, asylum and immigration.”

Michael Cashman, co-president of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT Rights said that accession critera are “crystal clear”. ”Minorities must be protected from discrimination as laid out in Article 19 of the Treaty—and that includes sexual orientation,” he said. “This is not an à la carte menu: it is at the core of the European Union, and we will be rigorous in its application.”

If the United States weren’t separated from Europe by an ocean, it would still be disqualified.

By:           Daniel Villarreal
On:           Feb 16, 2010
Tagged: , , , , ,

  • 25 Comments
    • Paschal
      Paschal

      It’s important that E.U. member states’ pro-gay laws are enforced. Many not very gay-friendly countries in the E.U. have laws which wouldn’t exist if it were not for the E.U. Hopefully the E.U. will soon push for the rights of gays to marry.

      Feb 16, 2010 at 9:15 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Andrew
      Andrew

      I’m moving to Europe as soon as possible, end of story. Pre-2003, I could have applied for asylum in many countries FROM the U.S….what does that say about us?

      Feb 16, 2010 at 9:16 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Truth B. Told
      Truth B. Told

      Sadly, though, if the US were fifty different countries (sometimes I think it is) then we’re not very far off from Europe as far as full marriage equality goes. They have legal recognition of same-sex marriage in Belgium, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Spain (maybe soon Portugal). We have Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Iowa, Connecticut.

      You’d think that such a fundamental civil right as marriage would be an obvious barometer of human rights and the prohibition of it an abuse of human rights, but most of Europe still equivocates with apartheid-like Civil Unions and Registered Partnerships, etc. so as to draw a line of demarcation between heterosexual privilege and homosexual second class citizenship.

      The E.U. permitted style of segregation of that sort is sooooo American — circa the 1950s/2010. I’d say the E.U. still has a long, long way to go. Still, it seems to be on a faster track than the un-United States of America.

      Feb 16, 2010 at 9:40 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 1EqualityUSA
      1EqualityUSA

      This country is only 233 years old. Europe has had centuries to figure out their laws. The United States will acknowledge that every American is equal, even the unpopular ones, slowly. I have Polish friends who have lived here for 25 years. They become so nostalgic for their home country that they fly back. Once there, they can’t stand it because it’s so, “not the United States.” They are caught between two worlds, never fully at home in either. That is a tough reality. The Constitution cannot tolerate discrimination of any Americans, even the unpopular ones.

      Feb 16, 2010 at 9:44 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ionos
      Ionos

      @Truth B. Told: Good reasoning.
      @1EqualityUSA: FYI – the laws in the US are OLDER than the laws in many European countries. As for the argument, “The Constitution cannot tolerate discrimination of any Americans, even the unpopular ones” – the constitution is as useful as it is interpreted by Supreme Court, and the Court has done a great job in its history of looking the other way when it comes to discrimination.

      Feb 16, 2010 at 10:00 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Paschal
      Paschal

      The number of years which the U.S.A. has existed for is no excuse for its laws. The move towards accepting gay rights in Europe didn’t begin hundreds of years ago or anything like that. The E.U. is probably the most gay-friendly area in the world but it still has A LOT left to do. Sweden, Denmark, the U.K., the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain allow gays to adopt jointly. Iceland, Norway and Andorra are non-E.U. countries which do the same. Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain allow gay marriage with Luxembourg, Slovenia and Portugal expected to do so soon. Portugal is well on its way towards allowing gay marriage. Ireland is on its way towards legalising civil partnerships which would give gays a lot of rights excluding joint adoption. The bill also would recognise cohabitating couples, both opposite and same-sex. Iceland mag allow gay marriage sometime soon and has a lesbian prime minister. 10 E.U. countries offer civil unions or registered partnerships as do three non-E.U. countries in Europe. Portugal currently offers rights with its unregistered cohabitation as does the non-E.U. country of Croatia. Gays are allowed to serve openly in the military of almost all E.U. countries.

      Feb 16, 2010 at 10:04 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 1EqualityUSA
      1EqualityUSA

      M….o…l….asses.

      Feb 16, 2010 at 10:05 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Truth B. Told
      Truth B. Told

      @1EqualityUSA who wrote: “The Constitution cannot tolerate discrimination of any Americans, even the unpopular ones.”

      ————

      Ah, the US Constitution may not, but the “interpreters” of the US Constitution (specifically the 14th Amendment) do and will — keep your eye on at least five of them at the top when our turn comes up.

      Sad to see what is made perfect by men then be made a travesty by other men. Still, some say that history is on our side. We still have that to comfort us — hopefully, that is not just another unfulfilled promise drawn out into our very old age. I’d dearly love to breathe the air of full, indisputable, freedom some day before I die.

      Feb 16, 2010 at 10:05 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • terrwill
      terrwill

      Problem is that in the United States our politicans are now cowering like little bitches to the lunatic rightwing nutbags. They are petrified about “offending” their “morals” and will attempt to undo laws that have been on the books for a while to pacify these lunatics. They are driven by dogma and blindly follow their “leaders” like mindless lemmings. Senator Bayh yesterday made it pretty clear. There is no longer room for moderate members of either party. In Europe they have the common sense to see that once a law passed and bolts of lightning do not come down from the heavens to anihilate the population, the laws tend to stay on the books. In the US the lunatic right wings are like spoiled children, they don’t get their way so they contiune to throw tantrums until they get what they want. We are on a slippery slope in a downward spiral………..

      Feb 16, 2010 at 10:07 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Paschal
      Paschal

      Finland, Germany and France allow gays to adopt their partners’ children by allowing step-chils adoption, as does the self-governing Greenland which is part of the Kingdom of Denmark but is no longer a part of the E.U.

      Feb 16, 2010 at 10:09 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • legriff
      legriff

      @1EqualityUSA: Not sure I see your point – yes, the countries of Europe have indeed ‘had centuries to figure out their laws’, but the point of this article is that the EU as a whole is making countries adhere to its treaties before they can become Member States. The EU as a legal entity is about 200 years younger that the USA.

      Feb 16, 2010 at 10:13 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Wade macMorrighan
      Wade macMorrighan

      Dudes, you have no idea how hostile my younger brother is to any notion that the US ought to (in my view!) draw upon European notions and cultures because we are so damned puritanical by comparison! He finds such comments offensive and un-American! The U.S. is backwards, and my own baby bro. refuses to acknowledge how far more progressive the other countries are in comparison.

      Feb 16, 2010 at 1:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • J. Clarence
      J. Clarence

      How is forcing a country to adopt laws on paper which the majority of its population may not be in favor of make it better than the United States?

      Any country could easily scramble to pass a law that protects gay people on paper, if it means that they will have access to a greater amount of resources, but does that in turn mean that the country will in actuality enforce those laws?

      Queerty, just look at the United Nations as a prime example of where good laws, or non-binding resolutions, do not lead to better outcomes.

      In the United States we have our problems, but we have at least devised a way in which if we extend rights to a minority we do so because we want to and not because of economic desperation.

      Feb 16, 2010 at 2:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 1EqualityUSA
      1EqualityUSA

      “In the United States we have our problems, but we have at least devised a way in which if we extend rights to a minority we do so because we want to and not because of economic desperation.”

      I agree. It just takes forever. Never before, have gays brushed themselves off and said, “We no longer want to be treated as second class citizens in our own country.” I have never lost faith in the Constitution. This country eventually gets around to adhering to the notion of freedom and equality for all. This is the first time those of us born under a gay star have said that we count too. Now we are talking about it. It’s a painful, frustrating, and isolating feeling to have religious powers, political powers, and now, possibly corporate powers work against our bid for equality under the law.

      Feb 16, 2010 at 2:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tavdy79
      tavdy79

      Sadly, though, if the US were fifty different countries (sometimes I think it is) then we’re not very far off from Europe as far as full marriage equality goes. They have legal recognition of same-sex marriage in Belgium, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Spain (maybe soon Portugal). We have Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Iowa, Connecticut.

      You’d think that such a fundamental civil right as marriage would be an obvious barometer of human rights and the prohibition of it an abuse of human rights, but most of Europe still equivocates with apartheid-like Civil Unions and Registered Partnerships, etc. so as to draw a line of demarcation between heterosexual privilege and homosexual second class citizenship.

      Truth B. Told

      You forgot Luxembourg & Slovenia (both are expected to legalise gay marriage this year, and both already have some other form of recognition) and DC (where marriage equality is just days away).

      101 million people live in the EU/EFTA states that already or will soon have marriage equality, and a further 266 million in EU/EFTA states that already or will soon provide some other form of recognition, for a total of 367 million – about 19% more than the entire US population, and 71% of the combined EU & EFTA population. (I’m not including Estonia in the second group) The EU & EFTA have 31 states of which eight (26%) already or will soon have marriage equality and 13 (42%) already or will soon provide some other form of recognition, for a total of 21 (68%).

      16 million people live in the US states & populated territories that already or will soon have marriage equality, and a further 80 million in states that provide some other form of recognition, for a total of 96 million, or 30% of the US population. (I’m including CA in the second group and NY in neither.) The US has 56 states, territories and districts with populations over 50,000, of which six (11%) already or will soon have marriage equality, and ten (18%) have some other form of recognition, for a total of 16 (29%).

      71% of EU/EFTA citizens live in the 68% of EU/EFTA states that provide some form of recognition of gay couples. This is comparable to the 70% US citizens living in the 71% of US states, territories & districts that do not provide any recognition. Civil Partnersips etc. may not be as ideal as full marriage equality, but they’re a damned sight better than the nothing that’s available throughout most of the USA.

      Also, even in those US states that provide some form of recognition a vast number of rights are denied through the federal DOMA, something that has no European equivalent. Any British-American couple would have the full suite of marriage-related rights in the UK even though they’re not officially married, yet immigration – one of the most basic rights – is denied them in states like IA or VT even thought their marriage is recognised.

      Feb 16, 2010 at 2:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Paschal
      Paschal

      When a Eurobarometer poll in 2006 asked people in the then 25 member states of the European Union whether gay marriage should be allowed throughout the E.U. 44% replied that it should and 49% replied that it should not. When the same poll asked whether gay couples should be allowed to adopt jointly throughout the E.U. 32% replied that it should while 61% replied that it should not. Support for gay marriage was 53% among the fifteen members of the E.U. before 10 countries joined in 2007.

      Feb 16, 2010 at 4:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Larry
      Larry

      @1EqualityUSA: This country eventually gets around to adhering to the notion of freedom and equality for all … It’s a painful, frustrating, and isolating feeling to have religious powers, political powers, and now, possibly corporate powers work against our bid for equality under the law.

      In a lot of other countries, equality under the law for GLBT people is assumed; it’s a given. But this country “eventually gets around” to it. “Eventually getting around” isn’t good enough for me, and I don’t know why people here are so satisfied with a country that makes progress so incredibly slowly compared to other countries. I mean, by 2012, China will have 42 high-speed rail lines — most of them built in the last decade. We won’t even have one, until 2014, when we’ll have a dinky little thing between Tampa and Orlando.

      It wasn’t always like this, but lately we’ve been finding ourselves left in the dust on numerous counts. We’ve run out of excuses. We’re a has-been superpower.

      Feb 16, 2010 at 5:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • J. Clarence
      J. Clarence

      @Larry: In a lot of other countries, equality under the law for GLBT people is assumed; it’s a given.

      Really, Larry, like which countries and which laws specifically?

      If a demographic doesn’t have a law specifically written to address them, such as affirmation action or in our case DOMA, then both here and elsewhere the assumption is the law is applied across the board. It’s why conservatives rushed to pass DOMA, because there was no law on the books to prohibited gays from getting married.

      “Eventually getting around to” is a recognition that the democratic process takes time. It’s easy for the officials in Beijing to do something, because they have an authoritative hold on power. Now if we had a benevolent pro-gay-rights dictator I am sure s/he would extend marriage rights to us in the blink of an eye, but for some reason some 200+ years ago the Framers thought that would be a bad idea.

      We are not a has-been superpower, we are still the best country equipped to tackle the worst of problems, what we have is an infestation of dingbats in Washington that can’t seem to get the right things done.

      Feb 16, 2010 at 5:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 1EqualityUSA
      1EqualityUSA

      We have freedom and, with that, freedom of thought. Other countries might be able to steal our ideas and mass reproduce the ideas that our free thinkers created, but the beauty of freedom is that no idea is suppressed, at least not until now. What a shame to start down that road.

      Feb 16, 2010 at 5:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 1EqualityUSA
      1EqualityUSA

      Dear J. Clarence, I am legally married, however, my friend is not able to be legally married because a bunch of religiously intolerant groups organized, lied, and misrepresented my community to the voters, resulting in a reversal of rights given to my spouse and to me. How can this two tiered set of rights exist?

      Feb 16, 2010 at 5:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 1EqualityUSA
      1EqualityUSA

      Clarification, the reversal of rights cannot touch my marriage, but my friend has now had this opportunity for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness taken away from her. How can these two sets of Americans be reconciled under our country’s equal protection clause?

      Feb 16, 2010 at 5:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Larry
      Larry

      @J. Clarence: England abolished slavery some 40 years before we did. Australian women could vote at the federal level almost 20 years before American women could. Denmark abolished its sodomy laws 70 years before we did. When it comes to protecting the rights of oppressed groups, we have a history of being laggards.

      This idea that the American political system is better at dealing with problems than others doesn’t add up when you consider that a lot of countries deal with a variety of issues well before we do.

      Feb 16, 2010 at 8:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Larry
      Larry

      I’m not advocating dictatorship or something. I’m just saying that maybe it’s about time Americans learned a little bit of humility and admitted that we’re not “the greatest nation in the world” (I don’t believe such a nation has ever existed in history) and that we might actually have a thing or two to learn from other countries.

      I’m tired of this auto-ass-kissing so prevalent among people in this country. I don’t know how we can look at 30 constitutional amendments that ban us from marrying, while the country just to our north has already legalized gay marriage, and say we have the best way of doing things.

      As for our status as a has-been superpower, it’s just ignorant to think that our status as the world’s top country will last forever. The irony is that we’re displaying the same kind of thinking as China in the Ming and Qing Dynasties and the British Empire as it was on the wane: this smug, self-satisfied conviction of our absolute and unquestioning superiority to the rest of the world. The inevitable result — in dynastic China, Britain and now here — is that we cease to do any serious work to improve our country and simply point our noses up while everybody else catches up and eventually overtakes us.

      Feb 16, 2010 at 8:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • J. Clarence
      J. Clarence

      @1EqualityUSA: The Equal Protection Clause is not as black and white as we all like to think it is. The Supreme Court has long held that there are instances where the government can infringe upon the equal application of laws on individual Americans.

      In the text of the 14th amendment, where we get the clause from, it says that the government cannot fringe upon our rights “without due process of law”. Not that the government cannot infringe upon the rights of Americans at all. What determines when it is constitutional or not constitutional for the government to infringe upon our rights is whether or not the law in question passes a given level of scrutiny by the judicial branch.

      We generally cannot have “separate but equal” laws in this country, with the only exception being if the law passes judicial review and proves that it is about a compelling government interest. (See Strict scrutiny)

      @Larry: I don’t think the fact that a country passes a civil-rights law before another translates to them being more egalitarian or liberal than another. Countries have various internal issues that drive how and when they approach issues. England had industrialized before the West, and in an industrialized world the necessity for slaves drops dramatically. That happened in the North as well. Slavery in the South however was the bedrock of its economy and way of life, so naturally it makes sense that they would fight harder to prolong that system as they had the most to loose.

      But if you think Britain is so mighty how do you justify that view of Britain with one that supported an apartheid Africa, which was effectively soft-slavery, until the mid-late 20th century.

      On Denmark and its anti-sodomy laws, by the time of the Lawrence v. Texas ruling in 2003 the amount of states that still enforced or even had anti-sodomy laws still on the books was down to I believe less than 20, out of 50 states. That’s an amazing achievement, especially when put in comparison to such a ethnically homogeneous batch of people as the Danish. It’s easy convincing a bunch of people of something if you all share so many of the same beliefs and cultures, but try getting a bunch of people from all over the place.

      Again, I’m not looking at timing as the prime indicator of which country is better, but rather the difficulty, end result, and democratic involvement. We have a system that provides a lot of flexibility and at the same time can accommodate a lot of change.

      Of course we can learn from other countries, and no one ways that we will be No. 1 forever; however, allegations of our impending demise are deeply exaggerated.

      Feb 16, 2010 at 9:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • dontblamemeivotedforhillary
      dontblamemeivotedforhillary

      Europe is largely more educated than USA. They are mistrustful of religious zealot-like politicians whereas being Christian is the litmus test to the White House here. Each generation becomes more Secular so the 2012, 2016 election cycles are unlikely to repeal DOMA, and concurrently grant Gay Marriage. We should be paying close attention to the Civil Rights division of the White House where liberal-leaning think tanks could well argue that lgbts are a disadvantaged group worthy of inclusion. This could bring us Civil Unions in 2016 or 2020 even if through the courts.

      Feb 17, 2010 at 1:03 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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