Did you know that the EU has a foreign ministry? Very few people do, since it it does very little. The number of foreign-policy priorities all 28 EU member states can agree on can probably be counted on one hand. So they do things like this:
Statement by the Spokesperson on LGBTI rights in the United States
"The recently adopted laws including in the states of Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee, which discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons in the United States contravene the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the US is a State party, and which states that the law shall prohibit any discrimination and guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection.
As a consequence, cultural, traditional or religious values cannot be invoked to justify any form of discrimination, including discrimination against LGBTI persons. These laws should be reconsidered as soon as possible.
The European Union reaffirms its commitment to the equality and dignity of all human beings irrespective of their sexual orientation and gender identity. We will continue to work to end all forms of discrimination and to counter attempts to embed or enhance discrimination wherever it occurs around the world."
I decide to send the three names credited with this statement the following open letter:
Dear Ms. Ray, Ms. Kocijancic, Mr. Kaznowski,
This is an open letter which I have also posted on my blog, www.germanjoys.eu.
I read with interest your pronouncement of May 12, 2016 calling on the states of Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee to 'reconsider' laws requiring persons to use bathrooms which accord with the sex on their birth certificates. You promised to "continue to work to end all forms of discrimination and to counter attempts to embed or enhance discrimination wherever it occurs around the world."
I am a citizen of the United States, but I have lived in Germany for over a decade. I have paid German taxes which, ultimately, help to fund the EU. I am curious about your reasons for making this pronouncement, and have a few questions which I would like to pose and a few points which I'd like to bring to your attention.
The first question is, of course, why are the decisions of democratically-elected legislatures in American states important to the EU? With all the other crises engulfing Europe these days, who decided to give this issue priority? Do you have any proof that these laws will ever have any significant effect on EU citizens? Can you name one transgender EU citizen living in the State of Mississippi, for instance?
Do you have any evidence that your views reflect the will of a majority of EU citizens? Do you have any public-opinion polls showing that large numbers of EU citizens care about these laws? Did you check the legislation of all 28 EU member states to determine whether those countries have similar laws? Do you believe that the bathroom choices available to transgender persons in 3 states of the United States are an important issue to the people of, say, Hungary? Poland? Romania?
Can you point to any treaty provision or legal precedent that supports your interpretation of the ICCPR'S non-discrimination clauses, which mention only discrimination on the basis of 'sex'? Specifically, do you have any legal precedent for the view that that gender-segregated bathrooms -- the overwhelming policy and practice of every society and every nation -- is unlawful discrimination on the basis of ‘sex’?
I have found no legal authority whatsoever to support your interpretation. I would be much obliged if you could show me any.
To take a much more fundamental issue than bathroom choice, marriage is now available to gays in every state of the United States. Are you aware that the largest EU member state, Germany, continues to deny gay people the right to marry, and has no plan to change that policy? And that the majority of EU member states denies gays the right to marry? Are you aware that large majorities of the populations of Eastern European states oppose gay marriage? Are you aware that just three years ago, one of the largest demonstrations in the history of France took place in Paris to oppose laws granting French homosexuals the right to marry?
Given the continuing controversy over this fundamental issue within the EU, why do you believe it is appropriate for the EU to take a stand on transgender bathroom rights in federal states in faraway lands? In particular, do you have any proof that your statement reflects the values of European citizens?
I believe that a reliable representative poll would certainly show that a majority of EU citizens favors maintaining gender-segregated bathrooms. I challenge you to show me any evidence that this is not the case.
To sum things up, I believe it is the case that your statement (1) is backed by zero legal authority; (2) reflects a view which would be rejected by the overwhelming majority of the people whom you claim to represent; and (3) is directed at an issue that has no meaningful effect on EU citizens; and (4) is far too insignificant to be worthy of the time and attention of EU officials.
I think you should withdraw the statement and focus on issues that actually matter to the people of Europe.
Goodness knows there's no shortage of those, is there?