The European Parliament has voted to condemn discrimination against LGBTQ people in Poland, and explicitly calling on the Polish government to revoke discriminatory measures such as the “LGBTQ-free zones” established by over 80 of conservative local authorities.
In a statement, the European Parliament said,
“The European Parliament urges Polish authorities to condemn these acts and to revoke all resolutions attacking LGBTI rights.”
According to Vice,
Gay rights have become a hot-button issue in Poland this year since the ruling right-wing populist Law and Justice made its opposition to “LGBTQ ideology” a central platform of its campaigns for national and European elections. The party’s anti-LGBTQ rhetoric, echoed by Catholic hardliners, nationalist groups and state-run media, has painted gay rights as a dangerous, alien ideology — imported from the decadent, liberal West — that threatens the traditional, Catholic family unit.
Law and Justice chairman Jarosław Kaczyński, Poland’s de facto leader, warned in April of an “imported” LGBTQ movement that “threatens our identity, our nation… and therefore the Polish state.” In October’s elections, his party was returned to power comfortably with 44 percent of the vote.
This unabashedly homophobic stance has resulted in an increasingly hostile environment for sexual minorities in Poland, with many local authorities banning support to projects that back equal rights for LGBTQ people. Rising homophobia has resulted in ugly scenes such as when right-wing mobs attacked marchers at a Pride rally in Bialystok in July. And last month, the annual edition of an annual Independence Day rally organized by nationalist groups had a markedly anti-gay theme.
The European Parliament’s resolution said this discrimination was part of
“a broader context of attacks against the LGBTI community in Poland, which include growing hate speech by public and elected officials and public media, as well as attacks and bans on Pride marches.”
Same-sex marriage and civil unions are banned in Poland, and activists say that while the status of the country’s LGBTQ community has steadily improved in the past decade, homophobic and transphobic attitudes still remain.
Bartosz Arłukowicz, a Polish MEP from the opposition Civic Platform, said the criticism was warranted, given the discrimination against the LGBTQ community. He said LGBTQ-free declarations did not belong in a
“modern state, in which the majority protects the rights of minorities.”
Paweł Rabiej, the deputy president of Warsaw and member of the centrist Nowoczesna party said on Twitter,
“The German fascists created zones free of Jews. Apartheid, of black.”
Jutro złożę w tej sprawie zawiadomienie do prokuratury. Niemieccy faszyści tworzyli strefy wolne od Żydów. Apartheid – od czarnych. Jak widać tradycja znajduje godnych naśladowców, tym razem w Polsce, pod parasolem @pisorgpl i biskupów. pic.twitter.com/h2HpJZow8A— Pawel Rabiej (@PawelRabiej) July 17, 2019
(Photo, Twiter; via Vice)