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European Parliament aims to make the EU an LGBTQ 'freedom zone'

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Down with traditional values

JOHANNA GERON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The European Parliament is set to consider a resolution Wednesday that would declare the entire European Union — consisting of 27 member nations — an LGBTQ "freedom zone."

Lawmakers claim the resolution's intent is simply to "promote and protect the enjoyment of all human rights by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons," though conservatives will likely view the move as an affront to traditional values and an unnecessary exercise of power.

The resolution comes largely in response to recent developments in one of EU's member states, Poland, where scores of local communities have set up symbolic resolutions declaring themselves free from "LGBT ideology," the Associated Press reported.

Conservative leaders in the predominantly Catholic nation have expressed concerns over the growth of the ideology of late, with Polish President Andrzej Duda even having compared its effects to that of communist oppression. As of February, nearly 100 municipalities in Poland, or one-third of the country, had declared themselves "LGBT-free zones."

However, the resolution takes aim not only at Poland but at Hungary, as well, where it claims the fundamental rights of LGBTQ people have been "severely hindered" due to a ban on legal gender recognition for transgender and intersex individuals. It also makes mention of developments in Latvia, as lawmakers there have taken up examination of a court ruling that extended the concept of family to include same-sex couples.

Lawmakers also note that only two of the EU's member states, Malta and Germany, have criminalized "conversion therapy," a controversial practice aimed at changing a person's sexual orientation from lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transsexual to heterosexual.

The resolution is reportedly the product of a cross-party group in the European Parliament, known as the LGBTI Intergroup, which claims that it has amassed enough support to pass the largely symbolic measure.

According to the group's vice chair, Liesje Schreinemacher, it was purposefully timed to mark the second anniversary of the first Polish community's declaration of itself as an "LGBT-free zone."

"We wanted to send a strong signal in Poland that we consider all of Europe to be an LGBTI freedom zone," she told the AP. "But every European country has work to do."

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