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Brussels, 17 May 2011
International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO): Statement of Vice-President Viviane Reding
"Homophobia is a blatant violation of human dignity and is incompatible with the principles upon which the EU is founded. This is why the European Union, and I personally, are fully committed to combating homophobia and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and do so whenever this falls within our competence," said Vice President Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner.
"The principle of equal treatment is a fundamental right for the EU. It is guaranteed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights. The Charter prohibits any discrimination based on sexual orientation. Yet, sadly, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people across the EU are still too often victims of exclusion, hate speech, hate crime, discrimination and other forms of intolerance.
The EU is going to great lengths to combat homophobia and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. EU legislation is one of our most powerful tools to this end. At the same time, legislation on its own is not sufficient. This is why the European Commission supports actions across Europe to raise awareness of discrimination and promote diversity and equality as well as the exchange of good practices in public policy that combat discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity at various levels.
I also would like to welcome the Court of Justice of the European Union's judgement last week in the Römer case in which the court confirms that a registered partner in a German life partnership is entitled to receive a supplementary retirement pension under an occupational pension scheme in the same way a married partner is. This applies if the life partner is in a situation that is legally and factually comparable to that of a married person as regards pensions.
As EU Justice Commissioner, I will continue to do my utmost to uphold the fundamental rights upon which the European Union is founded; Not only on International Day against homophobia but on all days of the year."