A bill has been submitted to Poland’s parliament requesting the banning of LGBTQ+ parades (known as equality marches in Poland). This bill if passed, would not only ban pride parades but also any other public gatherings that “promote” non-heterosexual orientations and gender identities.
Its arrival comes amid an anti-LGBTQ+ campaign led by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party since last year that has seen Poland ranked as the worst country in the EU for LGBTQ+ people in terms of legal rights and social climate.
The proposed law, entitled “Stop LGBT”, does not, however, come from PiS. It is a citizen’s legislative initiative – a type of bill that can be submitted to parliament if it receives the written supporting signatures of at least 100,000 citizens. The bill has gathered over 200,000 signatures and must now receive the first reading in parliament within three months.
The organisation behind the proposal, the Life and Family Foundation, is led by Kaja Godek, a prominent anti-abortion activist. Godek was involved with previous legislative initiatives to ban abortion, which reached parliament in 2016 and 2017 but were shelved following mass women’s protests.
The bill has already received support from parts of Poland’s influential Catholic church. Many Catholic priests helped the Life and Family Foundation gather support for the legislation, over 300 churches collected signatures.
The Archbishop of Szczecin, Andrzej Dzięga, encouraged parishes under his authority to help gather signatures. In an announcement read out from pulpits in his archdiocese, he “invited everyone to support this legislative initiative”.
“The purpose of the bill is to protect against LGBT propaganda[,]…gender ideology and practices that are contrary to nature,” Archbishop Dzięga wrote. “It is also a manifestation of respect for the homeland, spiritual and patriotic values…[and] maintenance of moral order.”
Poland last year hosted a record number of LGBTQ+ equality marches, with 24 taking place around the country, often in smaller towns holding them for the first time.
Until recently, the parades had been largely free of aggression they had faced the past. However, amid rising anti-LGBTQ+ tensions, last year’s march in Białystok was violently attacked. In Lublin, police arrested a couple who had intended to use a home-made explosive against the city’s parade.
A number of local councils under PiS control have passed resolutions declaring themselves to be “free from LGBT ideology”. In September, PiS chairman Jarosław Kaczyński warned that, if Poland does not fight to protect its values, it could follow Ireland in becoming a “Catholic wilderness with rampant LGBT ideology”.
Just within the past few weeks, the Irish town of Fermoy in County Cork severed ties with its Polish twin town, Nowa Deba, over the oppression of LGBTQ+ ideology.
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