Polish judge crushes LGBT-free zones


Central Europe


Sticker of the LGBT-free zone. It reads: This is an LGBT-free zone. Photo AFP, Janek Skarzynski

The Polish government has to abolish several so-called LGBT-free zones. That is what a high Polish appeal court ruled this week. The zones must be scrapped in four municipalities.

In 2019, several local authorities established so-called LGBT-free zones, Reuters wrote. Promoting homosexuality or other sexual identities that differ from heterosexuality was forbidden in these areas. Politicians in the predominantly Roman Catholic country see gender ideology as a threat.

The establishment of the LGBT-free zones caused much upheaval nationally and internationally. It even led to a clash between Poland and the European Commission, which argued that the zones violated EU law of non-discrimination.

Earlier, the Polish Human Rights Ombudsman filed a lawsuit against the Polish government. Then, lower courts ruled that nine of the areas must be scrapped. The municipalities in question appealed the ruling, but four of the appeals were dismissed on Tuesday.

Polish LGBT organisations see the ruling as a victory "for democracy, human rights and respect for people." That is what the movement Poland's Campaign Against Homophobia wrote on social media.

However, not all Poles agree. Minister Michal Wojcik, a Conservative Party United Poland member, is critical of the ruling. "If councillors decide that they want to support our traditions and identity, it is their sovereign right that should not be limited", he texted Reuters.

Recently, the EU Commission warned Poland that the country could lose funding because of the issue of LGBT-free zones. The Commission included a new clause in its agreement with Poland that stated that municipalities with LGBT-free zones would not get any funds between 2021 and 2027.



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