Poland minister calls LGBT+ march a ‘parade of sodomites’

Poland's Interior Minister Mariusz Blaszczak speaks during a press conference at the Polish Embassy in London on September 5, 2016. Three Polish ministers made an urgent visit to London following attacks on its nationals in Britain, including a murder which may have been a hate crime. / AFP / CHRIS J RATCLIFFE (Photo credit should read CHRIS J RATCLIFFE/AFP/Getty Images)

Poland’s Defence Minister has called a Pride march in the country a “parade of sodomites.”

Mariusz Blaszczak, a prominent figure in the country’s right-wing populist Government, condemned the rally in Poznan, which saw 5,000 people march for equality in the western city.

The remarks come after the Minister for Internal Affairs Joachim Brudziński told the police to prosecute LGBT+ people, accusing them of “desecrating” the Polish coat of arms by featuring it on a Pride flag during a march in July.

Newly-appointed Defence Minister Minister Mariusz Blaszczak on January 9, 2018 speaks during a ceremony at the presidential palace in Warsaw, following a sweeping reshuffle of the government.  Poland's new rightwing Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has sacked his defence and foreign ministers in a major cabinet reshuffle that comes just over a month after his own appointment. Controversial defence minister Antoni Macierewicz and foreign minister Witold Waszczykowski lost their jobs along with environment minister Jan Szyszko among others as Morawiecki seeks to mend ties with Poland's EU partners strained since his Law and Justice (PiS) party took office in 2015. / AFP PHOTO / Wojtek RADWANSKI / The erroneous mention[s] appearing in the metadata of this photo by Wojtek RADWANSKI has been modified in AFP systems in the following manner: [Mariusz Blaszczak ] instead of [Jacek Czaputowicz]. Please immediately remove the erroneous mention[s] from all your online services and delete it (them) from your servers. If you have been authorized by AFP to distribute it (them) to third parties, please ensure that the same actions are carried out by them. Failure to promptly comply with these instructions will entail liability on your part for any continued or post notification usage. Therefore we thank you very much for all your attention and prompt action. We are sorry for the inconvenience this notification may cause and remain at your disposal for any further information you may require.        (Photo credit should read WOJTEK RADWANSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Mariusz Blaszczak was appointed Defence Minister in January (WOJTEK RADWANSKI/AFP/Getty)

Speaking on TV Trwam, a Catholic, pro-Government station, the Defence Minister said the Pride parade showed that Poznan’s officials focus on “ideology” instead of everyday issues like “sidewalks and sewers.”

He dismissed the rally as “another parade of sodomites who are trying to impose their own interpretation of civic rights on other people,” according to Associated Press.

The Poznan tram company MPK Poznan placed rainbow flags on all its vehicles ahead of the parade, only to remove them when they were met with criticism.

Participants of a gay pride parade walk through the streets of Poznan, August 11, 2018. (Photo by Wojtek RADWANSKI / AFP)        (Photo credit should read WOJTEK RADWANSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Participants of a Pride parade walk through the streets of Poznan (WOJTEK RADWANSKI/AFP/Getty)

Blaszczak welcomed the company’s decision to back down, saying that if people show “something that is not normal, then it is met with resistance,” Polish outlet Wiadomosci has reported.

The Defence Minister’s comments seem intended to disparage Poznan’s local officials – who are opposed to the ruling Law and Justice party – ahead of local elections in October.

MP Michal Szczerba, whose Civic Platform party was voted out of government in 2015, called Blaszczak’s remarks “hateful, humiliating and discriminating against gay people.”

UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson (L) and Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak walk together in Helenow, near Warsaw on June 21, 2018 at the begining of their talks about strengthening security, defence, and cyber ties between both countries. (Photo by JANEK SKARZYNSKI / AFP)        (Photo credit should read JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Blaszczak and the UK’s Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson walk together in Helenow, near Warsaw (JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP/Getty)

The winner of Mr Gay Europe was crowned last week in Poznan, despite hundreds of protesters turning out to make their views on LGBT+ people heard.

Enrique Doleschy, a 30-year-old German contestant, beat six other finalists to win the crown in the twelfth annual edition of the competition.

“As long as there’s one person feeling like this, we need competitions like this to bring out the best in people and to force them, to drive them, to be better for each other,” Doleschy said.

German Enrique Doleschy (R) reacts after he won the Mister Gay Europe 2018 beauty contest as Matt Rood from UK - Mister Gay Europe 2017 stands by in the Haven And Hell club in Poznan, August 11, 2018. (Photo by Wojtek RADWANSKI / AFP)        (Photo credit should read WOJTEK RADWANSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

German contestant Enrique Doleschy after winning Mister Gay Europe 2018 (WOJTEK RADWANSKI/AFP/Getty)

This year’s contest also marked the first year that a trans person entered the competition, with Niels Jansen from Denmark chosen as the first runner-up.

Earlier this year, the country’s Supreme Court ruled that no person has the right to deny service to the LGBT+ community.

The case was taken by Poland’s Campaign Against Homophobia after a local print shop refused service to an LGBT+ organisation.

ARLINGTON, VA - APRIL 27:  U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis (L) hosts Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak for an Enhanced Honor Cordon at the Pentagon River Entrance April 27, 2018 in Arlington, Virginia. Poland recently signed a $4.75 billion arms deal - its biggest in history - with the United States and agreed to buy the Patriot missile defense system. Mattis praised the deal as a step forward in modernizing the Polish military.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

US Defence Secretary James Mattis hosts Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak (Chip Somodevilla/Getty)

The police forwarded the case to the District Court, who found the employee guilty and fined him 200 PLN (£40).

In June, an estimated 45,000 people marched in Warsaw in an annual “equality parade” to protest discrimination against LGBT+ people, women, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities.

Same-sex marriage is still illegal in Poland, despite shifting public support, and the constitution limits marriage to opposite-sex couples.