British Prime Minister Gordon Brown
said this week that his government is working to secure marriage-like
rights for gay and lesbian couples throughout Europe, especially in
eastern Europe, the AFP reported.
Brown spoke to gay glossy Attitude
about the plan.
“I'm fighting to get all the
countries in Europe to recognize civil partnerships carried out in
Britain,” he said in the magazine's January issue. “We want
countries where that hasn't been the case – especially in eastern
Europe – to recognize them.”
Recognition of Britain's law would
effectively legalize gay unions in countries that do not offer them
for couples willing to travel to the UK to get hitched.
Britain's civil partnership law took
effect in 2004. It grants gay and lesbian couples most of the rights
and obligations of marriage. Several gay activists, however, have
called on lawmakers to approve gay marriage.
Sweden became the fourth European
country to legalize gay marriage in the spring. Gay couples may also
marry in Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands. Others, including
France, Germany, and, beginning January 1, Austria, offer limited
unions similar to Britain's civil partnership law.
But anti-gay sentiment in eastern
Europe remains stubbornly high. Annual gay pride festivals in many
of these countries are routinely marred by violence.
“Of course it will be tough, and will
take many years, but that has never ever been a good reason not to
fight,” Brown added.