Polish Prime Minister rules out gay marriage

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Poland’s Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kacynski used his official assumption of power yesterday to declare the country a gay marriage free zone.

The leader of the Law and Justice Party, along with his brother, President Lech Kaczynski, has been known for his anti gay views after several gay bars and organisations have been banned and ministers have been allowed to freely make homophobic remarks.

The new Prime Minister said at his initiation, “We won’t let ourselves say that black is white, we are going to protect this (marriage) foundation of social life.”

Donald Tusk, the leader of the opposition Citizens’ Platform, told The Times, “He will be a bad Prime Minister, and he will have an unprecedented concentration of power at his disposal.”

The prime minister’s ruling Law and Justice Party, struggling to achieve a parliamentary majority, recently formed a coalition with two right-wing parties, the League of Polish Families and the Self-Defence Party. Both have a record of nationalist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic rhetoric. Roman Giertych, leader of the League of Polish Families, became deputy prime minister and minister of education. He has stated that, “There is no room, nor will there ever be any room for homosexual activism within the school system in Poland on my watch.”

The deputy minister of education Miroslaw Orzechowskiego, also a member of the League of Polish Families, accused the Campaign against Homophobia, a Polish gay group, of “depraving young people.” Pointing to an international seminar on gender stereotypes that the group co-sponsored in 2005, he said the ministry would work to “prevent such organisations from getting money in the future.”

President Kaczynski, the former leader of the ruling Law and Justice Party, has long opposed lesbian and gay people’s rights to expression and assembly. When serving as mayor of Warsaw, he attempted to ban Gay Pride marches in 2004 and 2005. He refused to meet with the parade organisers, saying, “I am not willing to meet perverts.” During his presidential campaign, Mr Kaczynski said that he would continue to ban gay demonstrations, as “public promotion of homosexuality will not be allowed.”

When Warsaw marchers defied the ban and peacefully demonstrated in 2004, skinheads associated with the far-right All-Polish Youth assaulted them. In April 2006, demonstrators from the All-Polish Youth also attacked a “March for Tolerance” in Krakow, pelting it with stones and eggs.

His statements may cause embarrassment for the European Union who have pledged to clampdown on homophobia in the continent.