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Abstract

This article provides a summary of the evolution of gay rights in the European Union. It highlights some legal lacunae in the protection of these rights which should be dealt with, and provides a sketch of the necessary developments in the near future. It identifies the main lines of gay rights development in the context of European integration, and views it from the larger perspective of other jurisdictions. Attention is given to Directive 2000/78/EC and the general context of transformation and enlargement, in which the Union has added a number of Member States that can be characterised as more homophobic than not. The article provides several illustrations of negative developments in gay rights in Eastern Europe, particularly in the new Member States of Latvia and Poland. In addition to the challenge of enlargement, it argues, Directive 2000/78/EC itself is far from an ideal instrument for assisting European gays. Rather, it only marks the first step forward, with many challenges lying ahead.