Three Polish regions row back anti-LGBT resolutions after EU pressure

The EU had threatened to pull about £130m in funding

Lamiat Sabin
Wednesday 29 September 2021 18:45
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<p>LGBT marchers with parade with rainbow flags in Poland amid heavy police presence </p>

LGBT marchers with parade with rainbow flags in Poland amid heavy police presence

Three regions in Poland have voted to scrap resolutions that declared them free of “LGBT ideology” as a result of the European Commission threatening to withhold funds.

The resolutions had first been passed in 2019, with local authorities viewing campaigns for gay rights as an attack on “traditional” family and Catholic values.

Almost 100 other provinces and municipalities passed similar anti-LGBT resolutions that year to signal the local governments’ conservative values and opposition to what some Polish leaders refer to as “LGBT ideology”.

The European Union has said that the resolutions violated anti-discrimination laws.

Earlier this month, the EU’s commission wrote to the five large regions to urge them to scrap the resolutions, or it would block up to £130 million in funds for their local governments.

Three regions in the southeast of Poland – Podkarpackie, Lubelskie and Malopolskie – ditched their declarations on Monday. Another southeastern region, Swietokrzyskie, scrapped it last week.

Councillors in Malopolskie voted after a debate in favour of an alternative resolution to “oppose any discrimination against anyone for any reason”, according to the Polish Press Agency.

The resolution also declared support for “every Malopolskie family, because that is the foundation of the social system of the state”.

Malopolskie assembly chairman Witold Kozłowski said in a statement that while the region is “built on values ​​and based on the centuries-old tradition of Christianity”, he and other councillors had no desire “to take responsibility for keeping [the region] without these EU funds”.

In Podkarpackie, the assembly passed a resolution declaring the province “a region of well-established tolerance”.

Lubelskie also approved a motion affirming “the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms” that also supports “the right of parents to raise their children according to their beliefs”, according to Reuters.

Poland’s justice minister Zbigniew Ziobro said his Law and Justice party was against the repeals, adding that the financial pressure from the commission amounted to “blackmail”.

Same-sex relationships are not legally recognised in Poland where, according to 2015 demographics, about 93 per cent of the population is Roman Catholic. The country already bans same-sex couples from adopting children.

Last year, Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said places with anti-LGBT rules were “humanity-free zones” and had “no place in our union”.

In July this year, the commission had announced that it would be taking legal action against Poland and Hungary for their anti-LGBT laws.

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