A court has annulled two anti-LGBT resolutions passed by Polish local authorities, finding them to be “in gross violation of the law” as they are discriminatory and “pose a risk of violence against LGBT people”.
It is the latest in a series of court rulings that have overturned some of the hundred or so such resolutions – many of which declared areas “free from LGBT ideology” – introduced by local authorities, usually under the control of the nationally ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party. Some have also been withdrawn amid the threat of losing European funding.
The latest decisions, made by the provincial administrative court in Lublin, relate to resolutions passed in April 2019 by the regional parliament of Lublin Province and by the county council of Ryki, a town in the same province.
The regional parliament declared “its opposition to…the introduction of ‘LGBT’ ideology…the goals of which violate fundamental rights and freedoms…[and] are orientated towards the annihilation of values shaped by the Catholic Church”. It pledged to fight against “homopropaganda”.
Ryki’s similar resolution warned of “homoterror” created by “left-liberal groups” as part of an “ideological war”. It promised to “protect children, young people, families and Polish schools from sexual depravity and indoctrination”.
Through such resolutions do not carry direct legal force, and are instead mainly symbolic, many argue that by stoking hostility against LGBT people they violate the law. Among them is Poland’s former human rights commissioner (RPO), Adam Bodnar, who launched a number of legal challenges.
The court in Lublin was ruling in response to two of those, and it found in favour of the RPO (a position now occupied by Marcin Wiącek). The resolutions “were adopted without legal basis and in gross violation of the law”, found the court, announced the RPO’s office.
It noted that they “undoubtedly discriminate against LGBT people”; “present the LGBT community as a threat…an evil that should be fought”; and “pose a risk of violence against LGBT people, as they create an intimidating, hostile and offensive atmosphere around this group”.
The two resolutions are the eighth and ninth to be struck down by courts following cases launched by the RPO. The rulings are, however, not yet legally binding and on 28 June this year the Supreme Administrative Court (NSA) in Warsaw will hear appeals against some of them.
One of the local authorities to challenge the annulment of its resolution is Tarnów county, which announced last month that it was taking the case to the NSA. “We did not stigmatise anyone with this resolution,” said the head of the council.
However, some local authorities have decided to withdraw their anti-LGBT resolutions of their own volition, after being threatened with losing millions of euros in funds from the European Union and Norway Grants.
The resolutions have received support from Poland’s ruling coalition. In 2020, the justice minister, Zbigniew Ziobro, promised to compensate districts that lose out on EU funding due to adopting them.
The education minister, Przemysław Czarnek, has described condemned LGBT pride parades for “promoting deviancy” and said that those who do so “do not have the same rights” as “normal people”.
While previously governor of Lublin Province, Czarnek awarded medals to those who had fought against “LGBT ideology”, which he says “comes from the same roots as German Nazism”.
Main image credit: Jakub Orzechowski / Agencja Gazeta
Daniel Tilles is editor-in-chief of Notes from Poland. He has written on Polish affairs for a wide range of publications, including Foreign Policy, POLITICO Europe, EUobserver and Dziennik Gazeta Prawna.