One would think that the European Commission, given its already notorious reputation for its high-handed and undemocratic dealings with its citizens, – not to talk of its free-and-easy ways with their money – should be a little more careful. Without as much as a “by-your-leave”, or even an effort to test its right to do so in its court, it is funding the campaign of the gay “marriage” lobby – and murdering language, truth and logic in the process.
Back in May, the European Commission’s headquarters at the Berlaymont building in Brussels hosted a photo exhibition organised by ILGA-Europe (the International Lesbian and Gay Association) and provided “generous financial support” for the event, which took place under the patronage of Viviane Reding, the Commission’s Vice-President. The Commission seems to have provided similar financial support to ILGA-Europe on other occasions. In a speech given in Warsaw in 2007, Caecilia Malmstrom, then Swedish Minister for Equality, said “the EU is financing two thirds of ILGA’s activities”.
Among the allegations made in this poster exhibition is one stating that European states which have not legislated for same-sex “marriage” are, as a consequence, denying one of the fundamental rights of European citizens, freedom of movement within the Union. Their argument goes as follows:
“Many EU countries have laws recognising same-sex marriage and registered partnerships, but most do not recognise each others’ laws.
“For example, two lesbians are married in Belgium. To continue to benefit from the rights, responsibilities and protections outside Belgium, they can only move to one of a few EU countries which currently recognise their marriage. The lack of mutual recognition results in serious violations of one of the most fundamental EU principles – freedom of movement of citizens.” (Source: ILGA Europe)
European Dignity Watch, which has highlighted this dubious Commission-supported propaganda by the ILGA, explains that the right of freedom of movement and of residence, fundamental rights accorded to every citizen of the EU, are in no way denied to gay people. Furthermore, discrimination based on sexual orientation is prohibited by Article 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Therefore, gay and lesbian people in the EU do enjoy freedom of movement in the same manner and extent as any other EU citizens. The poster’s text misinterprets the meaning of “freedom of movement”, EDW points out.
“What freedom of movement of EU citizens really means is that EU citizens have the right to move and settle in any other member state — provided they have a job and a domicile. It doesn’t mean any more or any less than this. It does not require an EU member states to receive citizens from other member states who do not fulfil these requirements and then provide them with social security or other similar benefits.”
Matters of marriage and family are the exclusive competence of each EU member state, it is still perfectly legitimate for a member state not to recognise same-sex marriages, whether conducted in another EU member state or in a non-EU country.
The European Commission, in giving its support to this kind of propaganda is ignoring its obligations to all its member states. It should be seeking to protect the legitimate autonomy which the Treaty of union gives them rather than seeking to undermine it.
As EDW points out, it is the biased position promoted by the poster that would result in violations of the EU Treaty, not the refusal of certain EU member states to recognise same-sex marriages.
If the European Commission really believed that a given member state’s refusal to recognise same-sex marriages conducted abroad violated the fundamental right of freedom of movement, it would already have had the courage to accuse that state before the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The truth is, however, that the Commission has never taken such legal action.
In the meantime, in the absence of an ECJ judgment on the matter, it is inappropriate for the Commission to lend its support to a publicity campaign that makes the allegation that some EU member states are committing “serious violations” of the EU’s freedom of movement principle.