LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

We are families!

On the occasion of the International Day of Families, 15 May 2007, four social NGOs are reminding the EU that any definition of families should reflect the diversity of families which exist in European societies.

Increasingly, the traditional concept of family is challenged by the evolution of society. The number of teenage pregnancies, single-parent families and families based on same-sex unions is on the rise in the EU. A failure to acknowledge their existence, and respond to the particular challenges they face, in policy and legislation amounts to discrimination on the grounds of sex, race, age, nationality, religion, disability and sexual orientation.

Today is also the occasion to remind the EU of the need to implement the principle of family reunification and freedom of movement of families within the EU without discrimination. Increasingly restrictive family reunification policies across the EU member states undermine the right to family life, and have a detrimental effect on the integration of migrants.

Definitions of families and family policies should extend to quality publicly funded care for dependents and state benefits which recognise families in their diversity. Caring duties and costs must not fall solely on families and in particular women. Member states must take responsibility for the well being and the full integration of dependents.

List of quotes:

Patricia Prendiville, Executive Director of ILGA-Europe said:

“We do not want our families to be constantly considered as second class. At the end of the day, the ones who pay the toll for such discriminatory measures are children in lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) families. Not recognising LGBT families in law and practice will only damage the right of children to the security and protection available to other children; it will not stop LGBT families from existing.”

Kirsti Kolthoff, President of the European Women’s Lobby stated:

"Care services are missing in the EU, which leads to a "double life burden", for women who more and more work outside the home and at the same time perform the majority of caring and household tasks. The way out of this"double life burden" of women, lies of course in changes in attitudes in the home, for an equal sharing of caring tasks between women and men, and it also depends on policies that allow women and men a real choice.”

Pascale Charhon, Director of the European Network against Racism (ENAR), pointed out that “there is an inherent contradiction in the policies of member states which seek to increasingly restrict migration and family reunification, while at the same time promoting integration and family rights in Europe”.

Anne-Sophie Parent, Director of AGE - the European Older People’s Platform observed that “the family should be considered in all its dimensions including the ageing family and that family policy should recognise the wish and limitations of families to care for their elderly dependants”.

For more information please contact:

Georgina Siklossy,
Communication and Press Officer
European Network Against Racism
Phone: 32-2-229.35.70 –
Fax: 32-2-229.35.75

Juris Lavrikovs
Information and Communications Officer
The European Region of the International Lesbian and Gay Association
tel.: + 32 2 609 54 16
mob.: + 32 496 70 83 57

Notes for editors:

1. The signatory organizations are:

AGE – the European Older People’s Platform:

European Disability Forum:

European Network Against Racism:

European Region of the International Lesbian and Gay Association:

European Women’s Lobby:

European Youth Forum:

The Platform of European Social NGOs:

2. The 15 of May is the International Day of Families. On this occasion, families and gender equality ministers will meet under the auspices of the German EU Presidency for an informal Council on Families and Gender Equality in Bad Pyrmont.