LONDON (TrustLaw) - Britain is the best place in Europe to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex, largely due to its recognition of civil partnerships for same-sex couples and solid anti-discrimination laws, according to a survey.
The International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) ranked 49 countries on more than 40 categories in its first-ever European survey on the legal rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people (LGBTI).
Britain came top with a total of 21 points, just ahead of Germany and Spain, which each got 20 points. Sweden and Belgium made up the rest of the top five.
Russia and Moldova were at the opposite end of the ranking, with minus 4.5 points each. Armenia, Azerbaijan, Macedonia, Ukraine, Monaco, San Marino, Turkey, Belarus and Liechtenstein also came near the bottom of the index.
ILGA-Europe said last year saw "great progress" in European and international legislation on LGBTI rights, particularly in the fields of asylum and protection from violence.
But it also noted that, from a legal perspective, no European country can claim full equality for its LGBTI citizens.
“Formal equality is only a step towards full social inclusion,” said Evelyne Paradis, executive director of ILGA-Europe. “And even here we see big differences and gaps across Europe - not a single country can claim full legal equality, let alone social equality.”
Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is illegal in Britain in housing, employment and the provision of goods and services. Same-sex couples have the right to adopt and to enter into civil partnerships, and transsexuals have the right to change their legal gender.
Russia, which decriminalised homosexuality 20 years ago, came under fire after several cities and regions either proposed or adopted criminalising “the propaganda of homosexuality” in 2011.
The law criminalises “public action aimed at propagandising sodomy, lesbianism, bisexualism and transgenderism among minors”.
St Petersburg, Russia’s second-largest city, became the fourth city to introduce the law in March.
“These laws opened the door for punishing anyone who speaks out for equality regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity,” said Kseniya Kirichenko of the the Russian LGTB Network. “Of course it is not about alleged protection of children, but it is about limitation of human rights of adolescents, LGTB people, human rights activists, journalists and all other people who would stand against it.”
The categories used to rate countries included how they are dealing with the following issues in their legislation:
- Equality and non-discrimination
- Bias-motivated speech/crime
- Family law
- Freedom of association, assembly and expression
- Legal gender recognition
Cultural and social attitudes were not considered in the report.
Download ILGA- Europe’s Rainbow Map and Index