Rainbow flags fly across Europe at Gay Pride parades

Rainbow flags fly across Europe at Gay Pride parades

BUCHAREST
Rainbow flags fly across Europe at Gay Pride parades

Thousands of people took to the streets to support LGBT rights in cities across Europe on Saturday, with marchers waving rainbow flags and condemning discrimination in all its forms.

Peaceful parades took place across European cities including the capitals of Italy, Latvia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania and Poland.     

In Bucharest, some 3,000 people marched through the city center with many celebrating a ruling made by the EU’s top court earlier this week.The European Court of Justice ruled in favor of Romanian gay man Relu Coman’s right to have his US husband Robert “Clai” Hamilton live with him in Romania.

“Clai and I are two people who did not accept discrimination. If more of us did the same, the world would be better,” Coman told AFP at the march.

Romania does not recognize same-sex marriage and had argued that Hamilton was not entitled to EU residency rights awarded to spouses.

The European court ruling means that same-sex partners of EU citizens have the right to live in any member state whatever their nationality, even in countries that do not recognize gay marriage.

In Warsaw, tens of thousands marched for the annual “Equality Parade” to protest discrimination not just against LGBT people but also women, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities.

Organizers said 45,000 people took part, while the town hall gave a lower estimate of 23,000.“I come from a small town and first marched for equality 10 years ago, without telling my parents,” Dominika Wroblewska said at the Warsaw parade.

“It’s very moving for me, especially since I came out a year ago,” she said.Her partner Alicja Nauman said she was marching “because I want to live in a place where all love is accepted, because love knows no boundaries.”

“The situation in Poland is bad because same-sex couples cannot marry or adopt children.”    

The “Baltic Prideparade in Latvia’s capital Riga included members of the gay community from fellow Baltic states Estonia and Lithuania.

One of the organizers, Kaspars Zalitis, told AFP that about eight thousand people marched.

“Latvia is in last place in the European Union when it comes to the rights of LGBT people,” Zalitis said.

“There is no protection against hate crimes, no respect for trans people, that’s why we think this issue is greatly urgent.”    

About 30 people protested before the start of the parade in Riga, following a call by a rightwing group for a demonstration against “the promotion of homosexuality.”

In Rome, thousands also marched on June 9, just days after Italy’s new families minister from the far-right League party caused a storm, saying homosexual families do not legally exist.

“It’s very important that we’re here, because we need to respond and show that it’s not true that we don’t exist,” said Andrea, 27.

gay rights, LGBT, Europe, Pride Week, parade