Sovereignty And Gay Progress Often At Odds In EU

The European Union likes to say it’s achieving “Unity through diversity,” but that’s not always the case when it comes to gay rights.

While Spain allows gay marriage, other nations, like Poland, stridently oppose such civil expansions. What, then, can progressive member states do? Nothing, says Vladimir Spidla, the Union’s Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities.

Speaking with The International Lesbian and Gay Association’s Destination Equality, Spidla explained that while the Union this year called for all nations to take steps toward inclusive non-discrimination policies, it’s up to the home government to determine their own course, especially in terms of same-sex unions, marriage and partnerships.

Within European legislation we have gone as far as we can go. If a state accepts the equality of these relationships then that state cannot discriminate.

…Whether the state accepts these unions or not is a basic national competence. And we don’t interfere with that. I think that we found the best possible balance in the proposal of the directive.

These are national competences over things that are very sensitive and which are not the subject of European legislation so we preserve them in that way and I think that at this moment there is the best possible balance.

The European Parliament earlier this month discussed a directive that would allow the transfer of marriage rights if citizens move from one member state to another. That measure, however, has been tabled, so the waiting game continues for this alleged European unity.

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