The European Parliament’s recently passed resolution “Homophobia in Europe” has raised alarms among European pro-family groups, Christians and others who worry the measure is a move to cut off public debate over same-sex unions and force universal acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle.
The controversial resolution urging member states to ban “homophobia” states that “homophobia can be defined as an irrational fear of and aversion to homosexuality and of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people based on prejudice, similar to racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and sexism.”
Homosexual activists point to recent tension, including so-called “hate speech,” between traditional values and the growing public expression of homosexuality throughout Europe as the catalyst for the resolution. Last year, Premier Edmund Stoiber of Bavaria declared his intention to challenge Germany’s proposed law favoring homosexual adoption. In June, conservatives in Spain took to the streets to protest the passing of same-sex unions.
Conflict between the newer Eastern European member states of the European Union is increasing. Poland, Latvia and Estonia have refused to permit homosexual unions. Italy also voted against homosexual unions, while Britain, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany and Spain have legalized them. Poland’s prime minister, Kazimeierz Marcinkiewicz, a founding member of the Christian-National Union Party, called for state protection against homosexual “contamination” of Polish culture. And Polish President Lech Kaczynski refused permission for “gay pride” demonstrations when he served as mayor of Warsaw. Lativa also disallowed homosexual-themed parades.
Homosexual advocates sought Parliament’s passage of the “homophobia” resolution.
“It’s a tragic thing that the term ‘homophobia’ has actually made its way into the resolution,” said, Jane Adolphe, associate professor of law at Ave Maria School of Law in Ann Arbor, Mich. “Even though a resolution is legally non-binding, if the term is used often enough in official documents it eventually becomes part of customary international law.” A nation may be bound by customary law, even when that nation has not specifically enacted into its domestic law the provisions held in international customary law.
American Family Association Center for Law & Policy agrees that the European resolution should stir American family advocates into immediate action “before it is too late.” The organization’s chief counsel, Steve Crampton, believes that the European resolution can have an impact on American Courts.
“Our Supreme Court seems enamored with citing foreign sources of law… what happens in the European Union today is going to become the law and policy of America tomorrow,” noted Crampton.
Adolphe noted that a defense against the term “homophobia” reaching binding power in treaties and thus legal force for nations such as the United States is to employ the “persistent objector principle.”
“By constantly objecting to the term in formal statements, in voting records at international fora, by inserting reservations into all documents, a nation declares its intention to be free of the term,” she said.
Though German homosexual-rights activist J?rg Litwinschuh admitted that the resolution is little more than a wish list at the moment, he predicted that sanctions against non-compliant nations will be the next step.
“If nothing changes, sanctions have to happen,” he said. Litwinschuh spearheads the Queer Nations Initiative lobby.
European Justice Minister Franco Frattini moved last week to make sanctions against those nations a reality. Frattini replaced Rocco Buttiglione at the Parliament when Buttiglione was rejected for his stand against homosexual marriages. In Strasburg, Frattini announced that nations that did not eliminate all forms of discrimination, including the approval of homosexual “marriages,” would be subject to sanctions and eventual expulsion from the European Union.
The European resolution also attempts to locate homosexuality in the category of racism by calling on member states to “fully recognize homosexuals as targets and victims of the Nazi regime.” Litwinschuh was also instrumental in pressing the city of Berlin to build a memorial for homosexuals persecuted by the Nazis.
The comparison to racism is not valid, according to Adolphe: “Race is an immutable characteristic, homosexual acts are a chosen behavior.”
Some are stunned at the speed with which the homophobia resolution has been applied to everyday life in Europe, despite its non-binding status. Of particular concern for Christians, Jews and Muslims is this statement in the resolution that mentions religious freedom and the rights of conscience: “Homophobia manifests itself in the private and public spheres in different forms such as hate speech … and unjustified and unreasonable limitations of rights, which are often hidden behind reasons of public order, religious freedom and the right to conscientious objection.”
Adolphe noted that a “phobia” is a psychiatric term and thus only a doctor could determine if a set of behaviors amounted to the condition of “homophobia.”
“We could say that homosexual advocates have an aversion to, a phobia of, heterosexuals, a ‘heterophobia,’” said Adolphe “Is it a phobia if you want to discuss outlawing homosexual ‘marriages,’ a policy only allowed in four countries in the universe? To suggest so is an infringement on the right to free expression, free speech.”
Free speech and religious freedom are uppermost in the response of people of faith. Aldo Giordano, secretary-general of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences, told Vatican Radio: “The declaration shows an aversion for certain values of our tradition, notably religious values. … Such resolutions risk de-legitimizing the European Parliament. It should be clear that certain subjects, especially those relating to the family, are not within the direct competence of the European Union but are the recognized competence of nations.”
Cardinal Camillo Ruini denounced the “equating the rights of homosexual couples with those of true and legitimate families.”
According to Euro-Fam, an interdenominational family advocacy organization, the pressure of the resolution on free speech is ominous:
“It is important to note that quoting biblical passages dealing with homosexuality have led to imprisonment and to legal actions in the past on the basis of so-called homophobia. Hence, it is disturbing that the resolution does not clearly reaffirm the freedom of religion and even seems to want to suppress the freedom of expression (for those who wish to refer to the Bible).”
Angelika Niebler, a member of a conservative German group of MEPs voted against the resolution, saying, “I think that this is a case of Europe getting involved in things that are none of Europe’s business.”
Euro-Fam’s newsletter states: “The EU must not interfere with the EU Member States in matters which concern the right to private life and family rights, freedom of thought, of conscience and the religious freedom: it has no competence in these fields. The EU Member States must be able to preserve their national family laws.”