This website is an archive of the work of Marietje Schaake in the European Parliament between 2009 and 2019. Marietje can be reached at

Plenary speech - Recent moves to criminalise LGBTI people

Marietje Schaake − Mr President, while already facing multiple challenges in most countries in the world, LGBTI people have recently been faced with a wave of laws criminalising their identity, speech and behaviour – in other words, restricting their human rights. It is all the more disturbing that in this Parliament it is still difficult to get a number of Members to condemn the threats to LGBTI peoples’ human rights at all. I believe that is the shame of Europe today. The fact that an even greater number of Members in this House is reluctant to condemn Russia and its stance on LGBTI people during the Olympics is equally disturbing and disappointing, especially in the face of so many concerns that our citizens relay to us. When governments like that of my home country, the Netherlands, show their true colours by sending the most prominent delegation possible to attend the Winter Olympics, let us clearly say: Mr Putin, being gay is not a choice, and speaking out about it is not propaganda. You should know this all too well. The Olympic Committee already regrets choosing Russia for this Winter Olympics, and I can say I too am quite sorry. I believe that this House and all of us individually must make sure that we are part of tilting the balance of respect for the rights of LGBT people to the progressive side. That is a responsibility we share, because LGBTI peoples’ rights are human rights which we must safeguard.