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LGBT rights in Europe

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File:Same sex marriage map Europe detailed.svg

Gay rights are by far more widely accepted in Europe than in any other continent and in many respects Europe is arguably the most gay-friendly continent on the planet.[citation needed] As of today, four out of the six countries that have legalised same-sex marriage are in Europe. Also, 20 European countries have so far legalised civil unions or registered partnerships. Despite widespread persecution of lesbians and gay men stretching from the late Roman Empire until the late 20th century, including the Holocaust, lesbian and gay people enjoy much more greater acceptance in most European countries today, epecially Westen Europe. Although homosexuality has been decriminalised across Europe, issues facing same-sex couples today are discrimination in taxation, adoption and marriage.

HistoryEdit

Although same-sex relationships were quite common in ancient Greece and Rome, after Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire, severe laws against homosexual behavior appeared. An edict by the Emperor Theodosius I in 390 condemned all "passive" homosexual men to death by public burning. (A militant Christian, Theodosius also closed all pagan temples and abolished the Olympic Games.) This was followed by the Corpus Juris Civilis of Justinian I in 529, which prescribed public castration and execution for all who committed homosexual acts, both active and passive partners alike. Justinian's law code then served as the basis for most European countries' laws against homosexuals for the next 1400 years. Homosexual behavior, called sodomy, was considered a capital crime, and thousands of homosexual men were executed across Europe during waves of persecution in these centuries. Lesbians were less often singled out for punishment, but they also suffered persecution and execution from time to time.

During the French Revolution, the French National Assembly rewrote the criminal code in 1791, omitting all reference to homosexuality, making France the first European nation where lesbians and gays could live without fear of being jailed or executed as criminals on account of their sexual or romantic inclinations. On 6 August 1942, however, the Vichy government made homosexual relations with anyone under twenty-one illegal as part of its conservative (someTemplate:Who would say fascist) family agenda. Most Vichy legislation was repealed after the war—but the anti-gay Vichy law remained on the books for four decades until it was finally repealed in August 1982 when the age of consent (15) was again made the same for heterosexual as well as homosexual partners.

Nevertheless, gay men and lesbians continued to live closeted lives, since moral and social disapproval by heterosexual society remained strong in France and across Europe for another two centuries, until the modern gay rights movement began in 1969.

For further information, see: LGBT social movements

Various countries under dictatorships in the 20th century were very anti-homosexual, such as in Nazi Germany, and in Spain under Francisco Franco's regime. Yet by way of contrast, in 1932 Poland became the first European nation in the 20th century to decriminalise homosexual activity, followed by Denmark in 1933, and Sweden in 1944. In 1989, Denmark was the first country in Europe, and the world, to introduce registered partnerships for same-sex couples. In 2001 a next step was made, when the Netherlands opened civil marriage for same-sex couples, which made it the first country in the world to do so. Since then, three other European states followed (Belgium in 2003, Spain in 2005 and Norway in 2008).

Recent developmentsEdit

All nations applying for membership in the European Union must enact prohibitions against anti-homosexual discrimination in the workplace along with an equal age of consent before being accepted.

Just six countries do not allow homosexuals to openly serve in the armed forces, the only countries to ban gays from military service are Belarus, Cyprus, Greece, Latvia, Serbia and Turkey (exempt from conscription). All other European countries fairly recently allows homosexuals to openly serve in the armed forces.

The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus will soon decriminalise male homosexual acts, when this is repealed with a new Criminal Code from 1 January 2009 - This will be the last nation in Europe to decriminalise homosexuality.[1][2]

Public Opinion around EuropeEdit

Legal recognition and social acceptance of gay rights in Europe vary among different parts of Europe. Western Europe is considered to be the most liberal in regards to gay rights; Northern Europe is more moderate (with Scandinavia and the UK being more liberal), and tend to focus on less controversial issues such as taxation and adding anti-discrimination laws for homosexuals in certain areas. Southern Europe tends to be slightly more conservative (with the exception of Spain), but is more accepting of gay rights than Eastern Europe. East Europe is the least accepting of gay rights, the populace there being strongly influenced by the Orthodox and Catholic churches and some containing former communist countries.

In a 2002 Pew Global Attitudes Project serveyed by the Pew Research Center, showed majorities in every Western European nation said homosexuality should be accepted by society, while most Russians, Poles and Ukrainians disagreed.[3] In 2006 a recent Eurobarometer poll surveying up to 30,000 people from each European Union countries, showed split opinion around the 27 member states on the issue of same sex marriage. The majority of support came from the Netherlands (82%), Sweden (71%), Denmark (69%), Belgium (62%), Luxembourg (58%), Spain (56%), Germany (52%) and Czech Republic (52%). All other countries within the EU had below 50% support; with Romania (11%), Latvia (12%), Cyprus (14%), Bulgaria (15%), Greece (15%), Poland (17%), Lithuania (17%) and Malta (18%) at the other end of the list.[4] Same sex adoption had majority support from only two countries: Netherlands at 69% and Sweden at 51% and the least support from Poland and Malta on 7% respectively.[4]

In addition other polls show Irish support for Civil unions at 51%, and gay adoption at 50%.[5] France has support for same sex marriage at 62%,[6] and Russians at 14%.[7] Italy has support for the 'Civil Partnership Law' between gays at 45% with 47% opposed.[8]

According to pollster Gallup Europe, it showed that women, the younger population and the highly educated have a more supportive view for marriage of homosexuals and gay adoption.[9]

Legislation around EuropeEdit

Northern EuropeEdit

Country Homosexual acts decriminalised Relationship recognition Same-sex marriage Allows gays to serve openly in the military Same-sex adoption Ban anti-gay discrimination
Template:Country data Denmark Denmark Yes legal since 1933 Yes legal since 1989 Yes legal since 2012 Yes Yes only in registered partnerships and only with partners' children Yes bans all anti-gay discrimination
Template:Country data Finland Finland Yes legal since 1971 Yes legal since 2002 No Yes No Yes bans all anti-gay discrimination
Template:Country data Iceland Iceland Yes legal since 1940 Yes legal since 1996 No Yes Yes only in registered partnerships Yes bans most anti-gay discrimination
Template:Country data Norway Norway Yes legal since 1972 Yes legal since 1993 Yes legal from 1/1/2009 Yes Yes Yes bans all anti-gay discrimination
Template:Country data Ireland Republic of Ireland Yes legal since 1993 No civil partnership laws proposed No Yes Yes only one partner can adopt the child / Same-sex couples can foster children Yes bans all anti-gay discrimination
Template:Country data Sweden Sweden Yes legal since 1944 Yes legal since 1995 No Yes Yes only in a registered partnership Yes bans all anti-gay discrimination
Template:Country data United Kingdom United Kingdom Yes legal since 1967 (1980 in Scotland and 1982 in Northern Ireland) Yes legal since 2005 No Yes Yes Yes bans all anti-gay discrimination

Southern EuropeEdit

Country Homosexual acts decriminalised Relationship recognition Same-sex marriage Allows gays to serve openly in the military Same-sex adoption Ban anti-gay discrimination
Template:Country data Albania Albania Yes legal since 1995 No No Yes No No
Template:Country data Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina Yes legal since 1996 (1998 in Republika Srpska) No No Yes No Yes bans most anti-gay discrimination
Template:Country data CRO Croatia Yes legal since 1977 Yes legal since 2003 No Yes No Yes bans all anti-gay discrimination
Template:Country data Cyprus Cyprus Yes legal since 1998 No No No banned from military service No Yes bans some anti-gay discrimination
Template:Country data Greece Greece Yes legal since 1951 No No No banned from military service No Yes bans some anti-gay discrimination
Template:Country data Italy Italy Yes legal since 1890 No No Yes No only married couples can adopt Yes bans some anti-gay discrimination
Template:Country data Kosovo Kosovo Yes legal since 1970 No No Yes No Yes bans all anti-gay discrimination
Template:Country data Macedonia Macedonia Yes legal since 1996 No No Yes No No
Template:Country data Malta Malta Yes legal since 1973 No No Yes No Yes bans some anti-gay discrimination
Template:Country data Montenegro Montenegro Yes legal since 1977 No No Yes No No
Template:Country data Portugal Portugal Yes legal since 1983 Yes legal since 2001 No Yes No Yes bans all anti-gay discrimination
Template:Country data San Marino San Marino Yes legal since 1864, recriminalised in 1974 and again legalised in 2001 No No Unknown No No
Template:Country data Serbia Serbia Yes legal since 1994 (1981 in Vojvodina) No No constitutional ban No banned from military service No Yes bans some anti-gay discrimination
Template:Country data Slovenia Slovenia Yes legal since 1977 Yes legal since 2006 No Yes No Yes bans most anti-gay discrimination
Template:Country data Spain Spain Yes legal since 1979 Yes legal since 1998 (12 of 14 communities legalised Civil unions Yes legal since 2005 Yes Yes Yes bans all anti-gay discrimination
Template:Country data Turkey Turkey Yes legal since 1982 No No Yes exempt from conscription No No

Western EuropeEdit

Country Homosexual acts decriminalised Relationship recognition Same-sex marriage Allows gays to serve openly in the military Same-sex adoption Ban anti-gay discrimination
Template:Country data Austria Austria Yes legal since 1971 Yes unregistered cohabitation since 2003, registered partnership proposed No Yes No Yes bans some anti-gay discrimination
Template:Country data Belgium Belgium Yes legal since 1762 Yes legal since 2000 Yes legal since 2003 Yes Yes Yes bans all anti-gay discrimination
Flag of France France Yes legal since 1791 Yes legal since 1999 No Yes NoSingle gay person may adopt Yes bans all anti-gay discrimination
Template:Country data Germany Germany Yes legal since 1969 (1968 in East Germany) Yes legal since 2001 No Yes Yes only partners' biological children Yes bans all anti-gay discrimination
Template:Country data Liechtenstein Liechtenstein Yes legal since 1989 No No Unknown No No
Template:Country data Luxembourg Luxembourg Yes legal since 1795 Yes legal since 2004 No Yes No Yes bans all anti-gay discrimination
Template:Country data Monaco Monaco Yes legal since 1793 No No Unknown Unknown Unknown
Template:Country data Netherlands Netherlands Yes legal since 1811 Yes legal since 1998 Yes legal since 2001 Yes Yes Yes bans all anti-gay discrimination
Template:Country data Switzerland Switzerland Yes legal since 1942 Yes legal since 2007 No Yes No Yes bans all anti-gay discrimination

Eastern EuropeEdit

Country Homosexual acts decriminalised Relationship recognition Same-sex marriage Allows gays to serve openly in the military Same-sex adoption Ban anti-gay discrimination
Template:Country data Belarus Belarus Yes legal since 1994 No No No banned from military service No No
Template:Country data Bulgaria Bulgaria Yes legal since 1968 No No Yes No Yes bans most anti-gay discrimination
Template:Country data Czech Republic Czech Republic Yes legal since 1962 Yes legal since 2001 No Yes No Yes bans all anti-gay discrimination
Template:Country data Estonia Estonia Yes legal since 1992 No No Yes No Yes bans most anti-gay discrimination
Template:Country data Hungary Hungary Yes legal since 1962 Yes unregistered cohabitation since 1996, registered partnership effective 1/1/2009 No Yes No Yes bans all anti-gay discrimination
Template:Country data Latvia Latvia Yes legal since 1992 No No constitutional ban No banned from military service No only married couples can adopt Yes bans some anti-gay discrimination
Template:Country data Lithuania Lithuania Yes legal since 1993 No No constitutional ban Yes No Yes bans all anti-gay discrimination
Template:Country data Moldova Moldova Yes legal since 1995 No No Yes No No
Template:Country data Poland Poland Yes legal since 1932 No No constitutional ban Yes No Yes bans some anti-gay discrimination
Template:Country data Romania Romania Yes legal since 1996 No No Yes No Yes bans all anti-gay discrimination
Template:Country data Russia Russia Yes legal since 1993 No No Yes No No
Template:Country data Slovakia Slovakia Yes legal since 1962 No No Yes No Yes bans most anti-gay discrimination
Template:Country data Ukraine Ukraine Yes legal since 1992 No No Yes No No

ReferencesEdit

  1. Northern Cyprus decriminalises homosexuality. Pink news. Retrieved on 29 January 2006.
  2. N. Cyprus To Abolish Sodomy Law. 365gay.com. Archived from the original on 2006-11-09. Retrieved on 29 January 2006.
  3. Views of a Changing World 2003. The Pew Research Center. Retrieved on 29 January 2007.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Eight EU Countries Back Same-Sex Marriage. Angus Reid Global Monitor : Polls & Research. Retrieved on 29 January 2006.
  5. Irish Ponder Same-Sex Unions, Adoption. Angus Reid Global Monitor : Polls & Research. Retrieved on 29 January, 06.
  6. French Back Same-Sex Marriage, Not Adoption. Angus Reid Global Monitor : Polls & Research. Retrieved on 29 January, 06.
  7. Same-Sex Marriage Nixed By Russians. Angus Reid Global Monitor : Polls & Research. Retrieved on 29 January, 06.
  8. Italians Divided Over Civil Partnership Law. Angus Reid Global Monitor : Polls & Research. Retrieved on 21 February, 07.
  9. Public opinion and same-sex unions (2003). ILGA Europe. Retrieved on 29 January, 06.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

Template:LGBT rights in Europe

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es:Homosexualidad en Europa

pl:Sytuacja prawna i społeczna osób LGBT w Europie pt:Homossexualidade na Europa

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