A person who happens to be gay (LGBT) in 21st century Luxembourg is fortunate to live in safe protective place with freedom of expression. “Gay Life in Luxembourg” is a right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness like any other citizen of the country. Here is high tolerance of homosexuality and most gays are respected and accepted even though the gay scene that exists within the country is small.
Same-sex sexual activity was acknowledged centuries ago in the culture and responded to in a sufficiently enough manner that it was removed as a crime in 1794. The rhetorical question is why such a decision was possible here so very long ago while many countries in the current world still hold that homosexuals are committing a punishable offense. Why or how is the Luxembourg mind different from these others that condemn differences as deviance…?
(photo right: Adolphe Bridge across the Petrusse River; guidemag.com)
As of January 2010 country civil unions were granted many of the rights of marriage are recognized and the age of consent for homosexual and heterosexual acts was in 1992 equalized at 16 years of age.
Civil unions were created in July 2004; they are called Partenariat légal (French: legal partnership) and are similar to the French PACS model. Building on this progress the government announced in 2009 its intention to approve same-sex marriage. As of March 2012, the bill is still making its way through the legislature, reaching the Juridical Commission on January 2012. A Eurobarometer survey published as far back as December 2006 showed that 58% of Luxembourg citizens surveyed were ready to support same-sex marriage and 39% recognized same-sex couple’s right to adopt.
(Gay marriage bill: http://carnalnation.com/content/12864/4/luxembourg-considers-legalizing-gay-marriage-and-adoption)
Anti-discrimination laws on the basis of sexual orientation apply to employment and the provision of goods and services. Hate crime legislation does not specifically refer to sexual orientation or gender identity so that sexual orientation or gender identity are not specified as aggravating factors for a hate crime. This strongly implies that homophobic insults and assaults are hardly present enough in modern Luxembourg to be singled out in the legislature.
Gay & Lesbian Associations
Rosa Lëtzebuerg ( Pink Luxembourg) is the major organization dealing with homosexual and bisexual issues is . This charity was founded on 26 June 1996 and had 220 members by 2004. Its aims are to promote the civil rights of homosexuals and bisexuals and to fight against discrimination against them, to work in terms of social, cultural and legal matters for full equality of homosexuals and bisexuals, and to organize social and cultural activities that are in favor of homosexuals and bisexuals. The website provides regional directories of gay and lesbian restaurants, bars and associations in and around Luxembourg.
Cigale is an advice and information center for the gay and lesbian community in Luxembourg. It also serves anyone who is looking for information on homosexuality and sexual orientation. Cigale provides online consultations for people looking for advice and support. They also assist gays and lesbians for their coming-out and can provide advice and support for many homosexual issues.
Anere Wee is a gay and lesbian youth organization. Their meetings take place at the Rosa Lëtzebuerg address above.
Politics and Progress
In October 2011, Luxembourg citizens went to the polls and elected Europe’s Third Capital City Gay Mayor
October 9, 2011
Openly gay deputy mayor Bettel Xavier, 38, beat the incumbent, Paul Helminger, 71, mayor since 1999, in an electoral surprise in Luxembourg.
(Elsewhere, Klaus Wowereit has been Mayor of Berlin since 2001, and has just been reelected. Bertrand Delanoë has been Mayor of Paris also since 2001.)
Xavier, (photo right) who appears with his partner during ceremonies, officially occupies the office of Mayor of the city of Luxembourg in two months. He declared he intends to push gay marriage legislation in the during his tenure.
Speaking with TÊTU magazine, Bettel said: “People ask me how it feels to be the third openly gay mayor of a European capital, after Berlin and Paris. But people do not judge us on the fact that whether or not homosexual. Voters chose me for my balance, my personality. And not my sexuality. People know my commitments and know they can contact me. I think this election is a recognition of the work.”
The Deputy Mayor in charge of social issues since 2005 was first elected when he was 22. He is a member of the centrist Democratic Party. Bettel has pushed for abortion law reform, currently heavily restricted, as are the grounds for divorce. “I am a lawyer by profession. I fight against all inequalities. I want a society where everyone feels good, My mother told me that when I was small, I was already like that!”
The aim is now to turn Luxembourg into “an open city.” He calls his program “Multiplicity.” Yet, despite his efforts, Bettel has failed to get gay marriage passed. Luxembourg has a version of civil partnerships similar to the French PACS. “Now that I am mayor, my companion asked me when I’m going to get the marriage through,” Bettel said laughing.
He has faced conservatism in the city parliament. “I’ve been called a [woman’s name], one day in parliament. It hurt me. [But] I said nothing.”
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