EC president says no room in EU for 'LGBT-free' zones

OLIVIER HOSLET

European Commission (EC) President Ursula von der Leyen said in Brussels on Wednesday there is no room in the EU for 'LGBT-free zones,' following a Monday debate at the European Parliament (EP) on the existence of such zones in Poland.

Von der Leyen said she would not rest in her efforts to create an EU of equality where all are free to be who they really are without fear of accusations or discrimination, because being oneself is not an ideology, she said, but an identity that no one can take away. She went on to announce that the EC would soon present a strategy aimed at strengthening the rights of sexual minorities.

The EC president went on to say the strategy for LGBTQI rights would also strive to ensure recognition of family relations within the bloc, stating that a parent in one country is a parent in every country.

In July, the EC decided to withhold funding for six Polish municipalities under the bloc's town twinning programme and Equality Commissioner Helena Dalli justified the move saying the ruling applied to local authorities that had adopted 'LGBT-free zone' or 'family rights' resolutions.

The non-legally-binding resolutions were criticised by some MEPs during Monday's EP debate on the situation in Poland.

Von der Leyen did not give details of her planned initiative for recognising the parental rights of same-sex couples.

In a related case, the EU Court of Justice ruled in 2018 that EU member states have the right to decide for themselves whether to allow same-sex marriages, but cannot refuse residency to someone with a same-sex spouse.