The European Union and rights of LGBT people

Briefing 14-05-2010

The prohibition of discrimination and the protection of human rights are important elements of the EU legal order. Nevertheless, discrimination against lesbians, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons persists throughout the EU, taking various forms including verbal abuse and physical violence. Sexual orientation is now recognised by EU law as grounds of discrimination; the scope of protection is however limited and does not cover social protection, healthcare education and access to goods and services – areas where LGBT people are often discriminated against. Combating discrimination has become part of EU internal and external policies and the subject of numerous resolutions of the European Parliament. But it remains problematic when it touches on issues pertaining to areas traditionally reserved to Member States, such as marital status and family law.