By Terry Vanderheyden

STRASBOURG, January 19, 2006 ( – Members of the European Union passed a resolution Wednesday to ban all so-called homophobia within its member states. The resolution passed by a significant majority – 468 in favour, 149 against and 41 abstentions.

Among other things, the resolution called for action against member states who fail to implement programs directed at fair treatment of homosexuals in employment and occupation, and to “ensure that same-sex partners enjoy the same respect, dignity and protection as the rest of society.”

Polish MEP Konrad Szymanski called the debate a “waste of time.”“Member states have their legal instruments to protect the rights of their citizens, and there is no need to organise some sort of union to protect homosexuals, as it would – quite on the contrary – undermine European integration,” he said.

Franco Frattini, EU commissioner for justice, freedom and security riled homosexual activists when he suggested that a resolution was unnecessary. He argued that the European Community already has the power to prosecute hatred against homosexuals through Article 13 of its Treaty on discrimination. Discrimination is already “expressly forbidden” by the Treaty, he said, adding that the Commission would continue to “fight against homophobia and discrimination based on sexual orientation.”

One commentator, former MEP and homosexual rights advocate, Joke Swiebel, commended Christians and conservatives, who she referred to as “lunatics,” for not being more vocal against the resolution. “Another positive point is that the lunatic fringe was apparently very silent,” she said. “It does not pay anymore to shout against gays and lesbians in the Parliament itself.”