“Wherever laws prevent LGBT people from marching for their rights or teachers from explaining to a young gay man or woman that he or she is as good as the next person, wherever two men or two women cannot kiss in public without putting themselves at risk, human rights take a backward step,” declared Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, France’s minister for women’s rights.
Speaking in a PACE debate on tackling discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, she urged states to continue their efforts and others, such as Russia, to reconsider their legislation. “The way to teach our children to respect others is not by stigmatising people,” she said, adding that “the right of LGBT people is inseparable from the right of their children to achieve their full potential in a family that is recognised by the authorities and protected from discrimination.”
Bringing about a lasting decline in hatred and the violence it inspires, by taking action at all ages and all levels, is a priority.
The Minister also said that France was proud to have joined the 8 European countries which, one after another over the past 10 years, had opened up marriage to all couples. The law, she said, also provided a means of tackling violence and discrimination on the ground. “It is more difficult to explain that a homosexual and a heterosexual are of equal value when one has fewer rights than the other.”
Video of the speech