The Cork town of Fermoy will suspend or terminate its twinning arrangement with Nowa Deba in Poland, which has declared itself an “LGBT-Free Zone“.
Activists in Poland have created an ‘Atlas of Hate’ showing the geographical spread of the “LGBT-Free Zone” adoption by cities and regions. Approximately one-third of the country is now declared an “LGBT-Free Zone”.
Also among the 90 cities declaring themselves as an “LGBT-Free Zone”, is Wieluń, the sister city of Letterkenny in Donegal.
Councillor Noel McCarthy, a member of the Fermoy Twinning Committee will raise the issue with Cork County Council in order to start the process of breaking ties with “LGBT-Free Zone”, Nowa Deba:
“They are discriminating against the LGBT community. So, what we are saying in Fermoy, and I want to compliment the Twinning Committee… for taking this stance. Here in Ireland, we recognise gay marriage and we don’t discriminate against any of the LGBT community or any other communities for that matter.
“We are taking a stance and a town in France have done the same who are twinned with Nowa Deba and have also severed ties with them,” he told Patricia Messinger on C103’s Cork Today Show.
Cllr McCarthy said the final decision will rest with Cork County Council but he highlighted the importance of taking a stand against discrimination:
“We must stand up to people like this. You can not do this in 2020 and be seen to be able to get away with it. I want to compliment the Twinning Committee for taking this stance and asking us as councillors with my colleagues that we will take the next step by terminating or suspending our links with Nowa Deba.”
Local Polish newspaper Gazeta Polska announced their July edition would include stickers featuring a black cross over a pride flag, with the words “LGBT-Free Zone”.
The European Parliament are calling on the Polish authorities to take action against the rise of homophobia throughout the country. As stated in an EP press release, “These local governments have issued non-binding resolutions pledging to refrain from taking any action to encourage tolerance of LGBTI people and saying they would not provide financial assistance to NGOs working to promote equal rights.”
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