Gay and Lesbian Humanist

Spring 1990

Lesbian and Gay Rights Issues Raised at Council of Europe Meeting

A GALHA member has addressed a meeting of Council of Europe organisations in Strasbourg on lesbian and gay rights.

Kees Waaldijk, one of six GALHA members in the Netherlands, was attending the meeting under the auspices of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU). It was the 65th meeting of non-governmental organisations which have consultative status with the Council of Europe and are interested in human rights. The organisations include Amnesty International, the International Press Institute, the International Federation of Teachers’ Associations and the World Organization of the Scout Movement.

The main point on the agenda of the meeting was the discussion of the IHEU’s previously circulated Memorandum on Recent Developments in Law Affecting the Human Rights of Homosexual Women and Men and a draft motion calling on Council of Europe member states to repeal all laws which discriminate against homosexuality.

Kees delivered a speech highlighting the main points of this memorandum and motion. He emphasised the different ways in which anti-homosexual legislation contributes to a variety of forms of anti-homosexual discrimination, and stressed the absence – in a secular society – of any acceptable, objective and reasonable justification for such legislation of which Section 28 is the most recent example in Europe.

Critical questions came mainly from the Roman Catholic organisations and an English representative of one of these suggested that the risk of the human race dying out as a result of increased homosexuality can be considered as a justification for homosexual legislation.

A decision on the motion was postponed, but Kees and his fellow IHEU delegates are confident that it will be carried at the next meeting in May, albeit in slightly modified form. “If we succeed”, says Kees, “it is one more body in Europe which accepts the needs of lesbians and gay men.”

Kees is a lecturer in public law at the University of Limburg in the Netherlands and a part-time lecturer at the University of Utrecht’s Gay and Lesbian Studies Department which produces the ILGA Pink Book.

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Created : Sunday, 2003-03-09 / Last updated : Wednesday, 2007-12-12
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