Mail from Brussels, How the same-sex lobby works in the European Parliament, 04.06.2015

How the same-sex lobby works in the European Parliament

Unequal treatment is justified in Europe. EU institutions or the national legislator may indeed treat people differently if there are good reasons for doing so. Thus, on April 29th, 2015, the European Court of Justice ruled that homosexual men may be deferred from blood donation because homosexual acts still constitute an uncontrollable health hazard. According to the European judges, "it must be established whether those persons are at a high risk of acquiring severe infectious diseases, such as HIV, and that there are no effective detection techniques or less onerous methods for ensuring a high level of health protection for recipients". That implies that the same-sex lifestyle is not only dangerous but it needs to be regarded differently.

Yet, there is a growing influence of the same-sex lobby in the European Parliament. On the occasion of May 17th - a so-called "International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia" - the LGBT-lobby asked EU institutions to hoist the rainbow flag in addition to the European flag. This request was meant for the EU buildings in Brussels, Strasbourg and Luxembourg as well as for the representations in the member countries and delegation offices in non-member countries. But the LGBT-lobby was sent packing with their request: no rainbow flag was hoisted anywhere.

Green Party MEP at the Parliament's Bureau, Ulrike Lunacek, submitted the LGBT-lobby's bizarre request to the EU Parliament. Ms Lunacek is Vice President of the EU Parliament and Co-Chair of the LGBT Intergroup. The President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz (SPD), put her peculiar proposal on the agenda as a "decision without debate", but had to backpedal afterwards: the vice presidents of the EU Parliament rejected the proposal on grounds of having no legal basis. Neither is there a resolution passed by the General Assembly of the United Nations, nor a decision taken by the European Council, which would make May 17th an official occasion of the lesbian and gay movement. Moreover, the flag protocol of the EU provides explicitly that only on the occasion of a state visit may the emblems of the state visitor may be hoisted. Nevertheless, in their official press release, the communications department of the EU Parliament still insisted on portraying the work of the LGBT Intergroup as if it were an official body of the EU Parliament. In this way, the administration creates and feigns facts as the rules of procedures of the European Parliament emphasize: "Intergroups are not considered bodies of Parliament and may thus not speak in its name." Obviously this seems not to apply to the LGBT Intergroup.

The Co-Chair of the LGBT Intergroup is also involved in the "High-level Group on Gender Equality and Diversity" of the European Parliament's Bureau. For the parliamentary term until 2019, the mandate of this parliamentary work unit at senior level most recently contains activities to raise awareness of homophobia and transphobia among the civil service. In accordance with the Staff Regulations, an internal administrative communication strategy is to sensitize the EU civil service in Brussels, Strasbourg and Luxembourg as well as the numerous information offices in the member states for same-sex lifestyles in their own ranks and gender reassignment respectively. By doing so, the parliamentary administration in Brussels again enhances its strange creativity with respect to gender mainstreaming: After the unsuccessful attempt to create a "gender neutral language" and to introduce it into the EU administration, there is now the LGBT mainstreaming to improve acceptance in favour of  same-sex lifestyles and transvestites respectively. Especially awareness-raising and training activities are among the official future measures to be taken. The nature of the interpersonal sensitization doesn’t need to be addressed here. However, the advertised training activities will especially please the former secretary of the LGBT Intergroup of the EU Parliament, Bruno Selun: he recently left the EU Parliament and opened his own EU consulting agency "Kumquat". As a lobbyist, he now offers his expertise in the political field of "gender equality, LGBT and diversity". He would certainly be able to offer a master agreement for the LGBT training of the EU civil service. 

On May25th, the international community celebrated World Family Day. This day is a highly official day of the United Nations, which marked its 20th anniversary last year. None of the EU institutions - council, cabinet, commission or parliament - deemed it appropriate to publish a statement with regard to marriage or families. Of all the non-government institutions in Brussels, only the Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe (FAFCE) spoke up and acknowledged marriage and families as the basis for a future-oriented society.This shows for whom the hearts of the Brussels administration and the executive levels of the EU institutions beat. Certainly not for marriage and families.

PS: We have received some reactions to this letter. One of them we would like to share with our readers because of its additional information:
Very briefly: the LGBTI Intergroup is not a lobby; it is a group of over 140 representatives from all parliamentary groups who campaign against discrimination and promote the rights of LGBTI persons. In order to coordinate and support their work they have a secretary (paid for by the representatives, no external funding). As you found out correctly, Bruno Selun used to hold this position.
To pretend a group of democratically elected representatives were a lobby is simply wrong and I am confident that you will rectify this accordingly.
Best regards,
Evert Jacobsen
Secretary of the LGBTI-Intergroup, Brussels