Gay politician Robert Biedron challenges Polish leaders on gay marriage

Liberal, pro-European, openly gay Polish politician Robert Biedron is seen as a figure to counter the ruling, nationalist and conservative PiS party.

Openly gay politician Robert Biedron is demanding the Polish government and president to recognise LGBT+ equality, including same-sex marriage.

Biedron, a long-time LGBT+ campaigner who became Poland’s first openly gay MP in 2011 and the first openly gay mayor in 2014, presented five demands for LGBT+ equality in front of the Presidential Palace in Warsaw.

The demands include: introduction of civil partnerships, guarantee of marriage equality, protection against hate speech and criminal liability for perpetrators, LGBT+ inclusive education and a gender recognition act.

Gay politician Robert Biedron.

Gay politician Robert Biedron presented five demands for LGBT+ rights. (RobertBiedron/Instagram)

“The constitution applies to all citizens and citizens. We are different, but equally important. ️‍ ” Biedron said, posting a picture of himself standing in front of the palace in Warsaw, a rainbow drawn on the pavement at his feet, on his social media platforms on Thursday (March 21).

Biedron started his new progressive, pro-European Union political party called Wiosna, meaning “spring,” in February.

His supporters, often young people, can be seen flying the Polish flag, the EU flag, and the LGBT+ Pride rainbow flag.

Supporters of Robert Biedron and his party are drawing rainbows on pavements, sharing the slogan “Give Spring a Rainbow.”

They have also taken to drawing rainbows on pavements, often accompanied with the slogan “#PodarujTęczęNaWiosnę” meaning “Give Spring a Rainbow.”

The slogan is a reference to both the party name and the impending European Parliamentary elections which will be held in May, ahead of the country’s general election due to be held later this year.

Biedron shared a picture of one such demonstration on Wednesday, when a group of his supporters drew rainbows in front of local government offices in Lodz.

Who is Robert Biedron and his party running against?

Poland has been ruled by the nationalist, right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party since 2015. Party leader Jarosław Kaczyński is an MP and does not hold executive office, but is nonetheless extremely influential.

Kaczyński, a staunch Catholic, recently amped-up the anti-LGBT rhetoric, calling LGBT-inclusive classes launched in the capital Warsaw “an attack on families, on children” during a party convention earlier this month.

Biedron has been campaigning for LGBT+ rights in Poland for nearly two decades.

LGBT activist Robert Biedron poses in his office in Warsaw in June 2006.

Robert Biedron poses in his office in Warsaw in June 2006. (Wojtek Radwanski/AFP/Getty)

He has been targeted in homophobic attacks at least four times, and his offices have also been smeared with slurs. Nonetheless, Biedron kept advocating against homophobia, taking on the Catholic Church—among his party’s objectives is the end of the state subsidies to the church.

His life partner of 17 years, Krzysztof Śmiszek, has also joined the ranks of Biedron’s party, running for a seat in the European Parliament.

The party, Politico reported last week, is currently polling at 7 percent, trailing far behind the country’s ruling party—at 40 percent—and a coalition of opposition parties who are currently projected 38 percent of the vote.