Thursday, April 08, 2010

Macedonia passes rights law but ignores calls to protect gays from discrimination

Macedonia has approved a new rights law but ignored appeals from the EU and rights groups to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation

A total 62 conservative lawmakers in the 120-seat parliament voted Thursday for the anti-discrimination law. The opposition walked out in protest demanding that protection be extended to lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people.

Shortly before the vote, the European Union mission head in Macedonia, Erwan Fouere, urged the conservatives to reconsider.

Fouere said the law "must ... really promote tolerance and put in effect the fight against discrimination of all parties."

Homosexuality is legal in Macedonia, but human rights groups say gays often face public humiliation, job discrimination and police harassment.

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