by Campaign Against Homophobia
When recently speaking in a meeting of EU education ministers in Heidelberg, Germany, the Polish Minister of Education Roman Giertych (from ultra-right League of Polish Families) left no question about his views on gay-issues.
He expressed his wish to implement a pan-European ban on “homosexual propaganda” and claimed in Polish press that he had spoken out the opinion of the Polish government; however upset, Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski stayed timid in his reaction, but invited Giertych for a “discussion” which was rumored to conclude with his dismissal. Nevertheless, Giertych stayed in the post, stated that they have cleared the situation with the Prime Minister and is ready to continue his work and implement the plans that were set.
On March 13th Polish newspapers delivered the news of the contents of Giertych’s fresh proposal for a law which would “prohibit the promotion of homosexuality and other deviance”. Later on the same day during a press conference of Ministry of Education the vice-Minister of Education Miroslaw Orzechowski stated that the main goal of the law is to “punish whoever promotes homosexuality or any other deviance of a sexual nature in educational establishments “.
Robert Biedron, President of Polish LGBT organization Campaign Against Homophobia, said: “I am embarrassed to hear of such a proposal; the issue is taking more and more dangerous measures with each day, Poland is like an island drifting away from the rest of Europe. When Mr. Orzechowski made this statement about the law, even the journalists asked whether this kind of an “isolation” of LGBT people is a first step and if so, what will be the next? Don’t we already know this kind of a language from not so ancient history?”
Biedron also claims that the passivity of the European Union is reaching its limits, “It seems that with many other issues the EU is able to respond quickly and exercise the measures which are meant to be exercised if some rules are broken – and what happens when the rules of equal treatment and anti-discrimination are broken? What happens when a Minister of a Member State regularly practices hate-speech and encourages intolerance? When will we see the measures taken against that? What has happened to the case where a project of a Polish LGBT organization was refused funding from a European Commission programme governed by the local authorities, with the reasoning “Ministry of Education does not support the cooperation of homosexuals organizations”? This is a case from September 2006 and until today the Commission has not been able to solve this particular issue.”
“What else are we waiting for before we finally take action? Are we waiting for increase of data on victims of homophobic violence? Are we waiting for camps for LGBT people? In my opinion, we need to react before things go to extreme, not when they are there already and there is little to save,” says Biedron.