Polish President, Andrzej Duda, has been met with widespread criticism following his pledge to further undermine LGBT+ rights as part of his reelection campaign.
On Saturday, June 13, Duda addressed the southwestern town of Brzeg by stating that “LGBT is not people, it’s an ideology.” As part of his reelection campaign, the former Law and Justice party member has voiced his commitment to prohibiting queer rights through new legislation.
In a ‘family charter’ published recently, the presidential candidate has sworn to take action on prohibiting “the propagation of this ideology” in public institutions, enshrine marriage in the constitution as solely between a woman and man, and strip same-sex couples of adoption rights.
Speaking at the rally in Bzerg, Duda stated, “We won’t allow [Poland] to be taken away from us. We won’t let any ideology, neither communist, nor socialist, nor any other take it away from us, because this is our identity. And let no one try to lead our children on the wrong path because we won’t allow it.”
Following the Bzerg rally, LGBT+ activists attended another election campaign gathered in the eastern city of Lublin. Nearly 100 people protested with Pride flags and banners against the recent attacks on LGBT+ rights from the Polish president.
LGBT+ activist, Bartosz Staszewski, told Reuters, “We gathered in large numbers to show him (Duda) that we are not an ideology, as these are the words that we hear very often from PiS politicians in recent days.”
On Change.org, a petition titled, Abolish current anti-LGBT laws and protect LGBT people in Poland, call the EU to intervene, has been gathering signatures to show support for the Polish LGBT+ community. It currently has around 192, 450.
The petition reads, “We also want to call the European Union to take action and to stop ignoring the violations of human rights happening in it’s member nation. LGBT+ rights are human rights. We are not an ideology, we are real people.”
European Commission Vice President Vera Jourova spoke out against the conservative and harmful pledge of Duda. She highlighted how his campaign violates EU guarantees of equal rights for all, further stating, “I find it really sad that in modern Europe, politicians holding high offices decide to target minorities for potential political gains.”
Following widespread criticism against his presidential campaign, Andrzej Duda lashed out at media outlets in a Twitter thread on Sunday, claiming the coverage is “fake news”. He wrote, “As part of dirty political fight, my words are put out of context. I truly believe in diversity and equality. At the same time, beliefs of any minority cannot be imposed on a majority under the false pretence of tolerance.”
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