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Euro Parliament supports gay marriage, points finger at Italy

September 5, 2003

Photo: AFP STRASBOURG — The European Parliament on Thursday recommended that gays be allowed to legally marry and adopt children, in its annual report on human rights issues in the European Union.

The report, which was adopted against the wishes of the main parliamentary group, the conservative European People's Party (EPP), also said that overall the human rights situation across the 15-member European Union had deteriorated in 2002.

It urged the EU to abolish all forms of discrimination, either legislative or de facto, against homosexuals, notably in preventing them from entering into same-sex marriages and adopting children.

On other issues, it denounced what it called media monopolies in Europe, singling out Italy where it said media power remained under the control of the prime minister, tycoon-turned-politician Silvio Berlusconi, without parliament making any moves to adopt laws against conflict of interest.

Italy, which holds the EU's rotating presidency until the end of the year, was also criticized for what the report called unreasonable delays in handing down court sentences, for which Rome has been repeatedly condemned by the European Court of Human Rights.

The parliament also urged airlines operating transatlantic flights to immediately stop handing over personal information on passengers, as demanded by the United States to help what Washington calls its post-September 11 fight against terrorism.

The text said the United States did not guarantee the same sort of privacy as found in EU countries in preventing abuse of this information.

The US also came under scrutiny over Islamic terror suspects held at the US military base in Cuba at Guantanamo Bay, with the report voicing concern about the fate of some detainees with EU passports.
In general, the report warned that both phobia of Muslims and anti-semitic acts were widespread in many of the 15 EU member nations, calling this a direct consequence of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in the United States.

It denounced what it called a rise in racist slurs against Muslims on Germany's music scene, and urged that Muslims be allowed to build mosques and install cemeteries in Greece.

The report finally urged that the right to vote be granted to non-EU nationals who had lived in the European Union for three years or more, and denounced what it said was police brutality and discrimination against gypsies. –Sapa-AFP



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