Three Polish regions remove ‘LGBT-free zones’ after EU threatens to withdraw funds


Photo by Mercedes Mehling on Unsplash

Three regions of Poland voted to quash resolutions declaring themselves “”LGBT-free areas. “

Local authorities see pressure for gay rights as a affront to traditional Catholic family values, nearly 100 regions in Poland passed anti-LGBTQ resolutions in 2019, which the EU said violated discrimination laws.

The European Commission later threatened to withdraw up to $ 150 million in funding for five local governments if they did not rescind the resolutions.

In response, Podkarpackie, Lubelskie and Malopolskie withdrew their statements on Monday. Another region, Świętokrzyskie, did it last week.

The resolutions had largely been symbolic ammunition for Poland’s cultural war. Led by anti-LGBTQ populist Viktor Orban and his right-wing Law and Justice party, the country does not legally recognize transgender people or same-sex relationships, or allowing same-sex couples to adopt children.

Polish Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro called the EU pressure “an attack on Poland and local governments, saying it” amounted to blackmail “.

The Polish news agency reports that after a debate, Malopolskie councilors voted to “oppose any discrimination against anyone for any reason”, declaring their support for “every Malopolskie family” in a new resolution .

In an interview with BBC, Bart Staszewski, a Polish LGBTQ activist, welcomed the repeals while stressing the need for further action.

“Politicians are playing with us. I mean, they don’t want to revoke the whole resolution, they just want to replace it with another one, ”he said.

“We have heard a lot of disgusting things during this debate,” he added. “It is clear to me that this is not enough, that we still have to fight.”

In March, the European Parliament voted to declare the entire EU an “LGBTIQ free zone” in response to Poland’s “LGBT free zones”.

In July, the European Commission has taken legal action against Poland and Hungary for “violations of the fundamental rights of LGBTIQ people”.


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