The European Parliament has called for homophobia and transphobia to be included in the list of hate speech and violence punishable by EU law.
The 2008 Framework Decision which covers specific, higher penalties for racist and xenophobic speech and crime will be reviewed this year. All 27 EU Member States plus Croatia have applied these measures and Parliament has repeated previous calls to include homophobia and transphobia in the reviewed Framework Decision.
SNP MEP Alyn Smith said:
"I'm delighted that we're taking steps to see homophobic and transphobic crime treated in the same way as other forms of discrimination.
"All six main political groups in the Parliament were agreed on this which really doesn't happen very often. That shows that the fight against expressions and acts of homophobia and transphobia has wide-ranging and popular support across all of Europe.
"Today Parliament has made a serious stand against discrimination. While I hope that one day our LGBT community won't have to experience any discrimination, the least we can do until then is to make sure that those guilty of these crimes are properly punished.
"For more than five years now the Anti-Discrimination Directive has been held up by the European Council - the Government's of the Member States in other words - and it's time that they followed Parliament's example. If the other European institutions follow the Parliament's lead, we can build a fairer, more equal and more just continent."