Latvia rejects gay protection

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The Latvian Parliament has defied European Union laws after refusing to implement anti discrimination policies regarding sexual orientation.

The legislation, stipulated as a basis for the country’s membership of the political body, was rejected by Mps, after some described homosexuality as a sin.

Latvia’s Christian Democratic Party called homosexuals “degenerate.”

It is the seventh time such legislation has failed in the country which joined the EU in May 2004.

Riccardo Gottardi, co-chair of the International Lesbian and Gay Association-Europe, said: “Today’s decision of the Latvian parliamentarians is appalling. When Latvia has joined the EU it has also taken up crystal-clear commitments on non-discrimination, but the debate in the Latvian Parliament today has shown a provocative and open disregard of these very obligations.

“Not only does Latvia disregard such fundamental principles of the EU as equality and non-discrimination for all, but it also challenges the basis of the European Union itself by completely ignoring the EU authority and its body of law.

“We call upon the European Commission to immediately start an infringement procedure against Latvia. Such an open attack on the very basis of the EU by one of the current EU member states must be addressed in the most serious and firm manner.

“It is time for the EU institutions to go beyond their declarations and statements and use the concrete legal procedures provided by the EU treaties against those member states which ignore and disregard basic principles and the law of the European Union.”

This week the European Union passed a resolution to combat homophobia on the continent which would see sentences handed down for homophobic, anti Semitic, and Islamophobic offences.