Polish Parliament to Examine Anti-LGBTQ Legislative Proposal

Associated Press

Thursday October 28, 2021

Poland's parliament is expected to give a first reading on Thursday to proposed legislation dubbed "Stop LGBT," which aims to prohibit the "promotion" of same-sex relationships and would ban pride parades.

It is not clear, however, how seriously lawmakers will treat the proposal, which is not the work of any of the political parties, but was filed with parliament by a conservative anti-abortion foundation.

European Union member Poland's right-wing nationalist governing party is already involved in a bitter dispute with the EU over judicial independence and law primacy. So Warsaw might not want to open another front with its EU partners, most of whom strongly oppose any discrimination against lesbians, gay men, bisexual and transgender people.

Under Polish law, citizens can submit legislative proposals to parliament if they get the signatures of at least 100,000 eligible voters.

The Life and Family Foundation, which lobbied successfully for a recent restriction on abortion rights, gathered 140,000 signatures for its "Stop LGBT" proposal.

Lawmakers in the 460-lower house of parliament, the Sejm, are scheduled to examine it on Thursday evening.

In a statement Thursday, the Amnesty International human rights watchdog said that, if adopted as law, the proposal will place the rights of LGBT people in Poland "at greatest risk than ever."

"We call on Polish (lawmakers) to recognize that love is love, and reject this hateful proposal which is discriminatory to its core," said Amnesty's Nils Muižnieks.

"This initiative may not have originated with the Polish government, but let us be clear: the government's normalization of hateful rhetoric has created an environment in which people feel empowered to spew bigotry," Muižnieks added.

In recent years Polish lawmakers, including the president, have lashed out at what they call "LGBT ideology," presenting it as something that would prematurely sexualize young people and threaten the country's traditional Catholic values.

Two years ago dozens of Polish communities passed resolutions declaring themselves to be free of "LGBT ideology," or adopted family charters stressing that families are based on unions of men and women.

But most of the anti-LGBT rhetoric has come during political election campaigns. And recently, facing the threat of a loss of EU funding, some regions have revoked the anti-LGBT resolutions.

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