Greens slam the government over stance on European Union gay rights.

Publish Date: 18/12/2008

Green Party LogoThe Green Party have slammed the government's decision to lend its support to EU countries that do not offer gay civil partnerships, and questioned its commitment to LGBT rights.

Despite the UK's own recognition of civil partnerships, the government made a submission to the European Court of Human Rights saying Austria should not have an obligation to provide the same rights to same sex couples. The opinion was submitted as part of a case brought by an Austrian couple who argued that Austria had violated their right to a private and family life, the right not to suffer discrimination, and the right to marry.

Green Party MEP for London, Jean Lambert, said: 'Across the EU and in the European Parliament we are pushing for the equal recognition of civil partnerships in all member states. However, it seems that the UK government voluntarily lent its support in this case to EU Member States who do not wish to allow the same rights to same sex couples as heterosexual couples.

'One would hope that a government supposedly committed to equal treatment would also promote the principle outside its own borders...Human rights are meant to be universal and indivisible, however, it would appear that the British government does not think so and is making it more difficult for those at the EU level who are arguing for the mutual recognition of civil partnerships and marriages.'

The news comes after reports that there have been more than one gay marriage a day in the Greater Manchester area, since the first UK civil partnership in December 2005.

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