In a broadside aimed at Poland’s populist government, EU chief Ursula von der Leyen warned on Wednesday that so-called LGBT-free zones have “no place in our union.” “I will not rest when it comes to building a union of equality,” the president of the European Commission vowed, in her annual State of the European Union speech.
She called for “a union where you can be who you are and love who you want — without fear of recrimination or discrimination. Because being yourself is not your ideology. It’s your identity. And no one can ever take it away. So I want to be crystal clear – LGBTQI-free zones are humanity-free zones. And they have no place in our Union.”
A number of Polish towns have declared themselves “LGBT ideology free zones”, and President Andrzej Duda has compared the struggle for equality to communism in terms of the alleged threat it poses to national values.
Brussels has denounced this stance before, but von der Leyen’s speech went further as she vowed to push EU member states to recognise adoptions by same-sex couples across the bloc. “If you are parent in one country, you are parent in every country,” she said.
To applause from the European Parliament, von der Leyen also re-committed her European Commission to the fight against racism. “Hate is hate — and no one should have to put up with it,” she said, vowing to use the EU budget to address discrimination in employment, housing and health care.
“We will improve education and knowledge on the historical, cultural causes of racism,” she said.
“We will tackle unconscious bias that exists in people, institutions and even in algorithms.
“And we will appoint the commission’s first-ever anti-racism coordinator to keep this at the top of our agenda and to work directly with people, civil society and institutions.”
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)