Polish court rules four “LGBTQIA+ free zones” must be abolished

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A top Polish appeals court ruled on Tuesday that so-called “LGBTQIA+ free zones” must be scrapped in four municipalities, a verdict hailed by activists as a victory for human rights and democracy.

Numerous local authorities in Poland passed resolutions in 2019 declaring themselves free from “LGBTQIA+ ideology,” part of a conflict in the predominantly Catholic country between religious liberals and conservatives, who see the fight for gay rights as a threat to traditional values.

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The “LGBTQIA+ free zones” seek to ban what local authorities see as the promotion of homosexuality and other minority sexual identities, especially in schools.

These measures put Poland on a collision course with the European Commission, which has said the zones could violate European Union (EU) law regarding non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

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After a legal challenge from Poland’s Human Rights Ombudsman, lower courts ruled that nine of those resolutions should be dropped.

The Public Ministry, the ultraconservative think-tank Ordo Iuris and the municipalities involved have appealed against these verdicts. In the first four cases, appeals were denied.

“Today’s decision is a great victory for democracy, human rights and respect for people,” wrote Poland’s Campaign against Homophobia in a social media post.

Cabinet Minister Michal Wojcik, a member of the conservative United Poland party, criticized the decision.

“If councilors decide they want to support our traditions and identity, it is their sovereign right. Nobody should limit that,” he told Reuters in a text message.

The decision comes as the issue of “LGBT-free zones” looks set to put EU funding for the Polish municipalities involved at risk again.

Last Friday, the Campaign against Homophobia said the EU Commission had introduced a clause in its Partnership Agreement with Poland that would prevent municipalities with “LGBT-free zones” from receiving funds from the bloc’s 2021 budget. -2027.

An EU source confirmed that municipalities that adopt policies considered discriminatory by the bloc will not receive funding for infrastructure, the environment and some other areas.

Source: CNN Brasil

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