Polish politician ‘marries’ partner in symbolic wedding to call for marriage equality

Polish politicians Robert Biedroń and Krzysztof Śmiszek sit on theatre chairs holding their hands out to show their wedding rings

Two politicians in Poland have called for equal marriage to be legalised in the country after “marrying” in a symbolic ceremony.

Robert Biedroń, the leader of the Spring party and a member of the European Parliament, ‘wed’ his partner, lawyer and politician Krzysztof Śmiszek, as part of a play touring Poland.

Both Biedroń, who served as the mayor of the Polish city of Słupsk from 2014-18, and Śmiszek have used the event to call for equal marriage in the country.

“I performed hundreds of weddings as the mayor of Słupsk, but this was the first time I stood on the other side,” Biedroń wrote in a post on X, formerly Twitter

“After 23 years in a relationship, it’s a beautiful feeling that needs to be shared. That’s why we should do everything so that two adults can experience a wedding whenever they want. Because love is love.” 

Śmiszek added on Instagram that parliamentary elections will be held on 15 October, and that left-wing parties will be pushing for marriage equality.

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“What a wedding,” he wrote. “There were nerves and emotions, but there was also anger that in 2023, in the middle of Europe, two people who love each other are not recognised by their country… that instead of respect and dignity, hundreds of thousands of people in Poland receive contempt.”

According to Notes from Poland, the ceremony was performed as part of a play, Spartacus: Love in the Time of Cholera.

The play reportedly explores life for LGBTQ+ people in Poland, which was ranked as one of the worst countries in Europe for the queer community this year.

Each performance ends with the wedding of a different LGBTQ+ couple, with an actress conducting the ceremony. Some couples take these symbolic weddings seriously, inviting loved ones and celebrating afterwards.

In recent years, Poland has come under fire for passing a number of anti-LGBTQ+ laws, as well as failing to implement equal rights laws, including same-sex marriage.

In January 2022, the lower house of the Polish parliament, the Sejm, passed education reforms effectively ending the LGBTQ+-inclusive curriculum. This was compounded by a further vote in February with aimed at “punishing” LGBTQ+ youth and allies.

Slow progress is being made, with several municipalities agreeing to scrap the “LGBTQ+ free” zones that were implemented in 2020. In November last year, despite not allowing same-sex marriage or civil unions, Poland did agree to recognise foreign same-sex unions.

Polish opposition leader Donald Tusk has promised that if his centrist party is voted in at the next election, he will introduce a number of measures to improve the lives of the country’s LGBTQ+ community.

During a meeting last month, former president of the European Council Tusk claimed his party has two bills prepared that would benefit the LGBTQ+ community. One aims to make it easier for trans people to self-identify, and the other would legally recognise same-sex civil partnerships.

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