Article originally published by Notes From Poland on 10 October 2020.

A proposed anti-LGBT law has been submitted to parliament. If passed, it would ban pride parades (known as equality marches in Poland), as well as any other public gatherings that “promote” non-heterosexual orientations and gender identities.

The bill has received support from parts of Poland’s influential Catholic church. Its arrival comes amid an anti-LGBT 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 LGBT people in terms of legal rights and social climate.

The proposed law, entitled “Stop LGBT”, does not, however, emanate 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 – which in this case gathered over 200,000 signatures – must now receive the first reading in parliament within three months.

It would ban public assemblies that “promote”, among other things, “sexual orientations other than heterosexuality”, the idea of non-biological gender, same-sex marriage or civic partnerships, or the adoption of children by same-sex couples.

The text also includes a prohibition on assemblies that “violate public morality, including in particular [those] that may morally corrupt children or youths”.

Ultracatholic’s war against LGBT+

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.

Last year, Godek stood unsuccessfully as an election candidate for the far-right Confederation (Konfederacja). After the party entered parliament, one of it leaders, Janusz Korwin-Mikke, promised that it would seek to “ban LGBT”.

Its “anti-LGBT law” would bring an end to “the promotion of deviancy under the protection of the Polish police”, said another of the party’s leading figures, Grzegorz Braun, quoted by Do Rzeczy. Braun also last year called for homosexuality to be criminalised and “sodomites sent to prison”.

In response to Godek’s proposed law, Krzysztof Bosak, a Confederation MP who recently stood as the party’s presidential candidate, told Polsat News today that “scandalous, obscene and vulgar activities should be banned in the public sphere”. But he added that he had not yet read the text of the bill itself.

Many Catholic priests helped the Life and Family foundation gather support for the legislation. A map created by activists has documented over 300 churches where signatures were collected.

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,” he wrote. “It is also a manifestation of respect for the homeland, spiritual and patriotic values…[and] maintenance of moral order.”

Poland LGBT+ Pride ban may not be possible under constitution

Article originally published by Pink News on 11 November 2020

Pride parades became a flashpoint ahead of Poland’s presidential elections, which saw the leading party, PiS, secure a landslide win after a campaign based on virulent homophobia.

The party’s leader Jarosław Kaczyński made clear his intention to ban Pride, urging Poland to do away with the “travelling theatre” of equality marches.

“The hard offensive, this travelling theatre that is showing up in different cities to provoke and then cry,” he told voters. “We are the ones who are harmed by this, it must be unmasked and discarded.”

Despite this, a PiS spokesman offered no promises that the proposal to ban Pride would actually be possible under Polish law. “I cannot imagine how the law would be formulated so that it would not violate the constitution,” Radosław Fogiel told Radio Zet on Tuesday (November 10). “It feels like an attempt to stir up emotions that have subsided. This is not the best idea.”

His reticence could be a sign that PiS is treading carefully after their most significant ally, Donald Trump, was defeated in the US elections. According to recent reports the party is uneasy after the victory of Joe Biden, whom they fear will be critical of their anti-LGBT+ domestic policies.