Homophobic Nations Not Allowed to Enter European Union
Officials from the European Commission, the executive body that governs the European Union, announced in a statement that it would no longer accept anti-gay countries as members, EUobserver reported.
"Rights of LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] people thus form an integral part of both the Copenhagen political criteria for accession and the EU legal framework on combatting discrimination," reads the statement. "They are closely monitored by the EU commission, which reports annually on the progress made by enlargement countries with regard to the situation of the LGBT community."
The commission note was sent to the EUobsever in response to a question from an interview with an Armenian cleric.
According to Wikipedia, many Armenians consider homosexuality to be taboo. The Christian country does not recognize gay marriage and gay men and woman are not allowed to openly serve in the military. Additionally, there are no anti-discrimination laws that protect on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity.
"It's not in our culture to accept homosexuals," Bishop Hovakim Manukyan told EUobserver in an interview. "I mean, we don't reject the person, but we reject the sin and this is our freedom as Armenians. Our culture does not accept this."
Iceland, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey are current candidates to become members of the European Union. Of those countries, only Iceland recognizes same-sex marriage. All of the nations, however, have legalized same-sex activity.
Serbia, however, has come under intense criticism for banning both Pride marches and counter protests. The government received withering criticism for not even giving a slap on the wrist to men who assaulted a woman because she was a lesbian. The Serbian government at best tolerates homophobia, according to observers.
The International Gay & Lesbian Association recently ranked European countries in 42 categories that pertain to LGBT rights. A number of nations that are currently in the European Union received very poor scores but the recently approved country of Croatia earned decent marks from the organization. Croatia, which doesn't support marriage equality, will become an official member of the European Union next year.
Albania has applied for a membership but has not been officially recognized as a candidate. Although the conservative country currently does not recognize marriage equality, there has been a pro-gay movement in recent years and Prime Minister Sali Berisha has proposed to legalize gay marriage.