Brussels (Brussels Morning) One of the Polish regions which declared themselves to be “LGBT ideology-free zones” has annulled its proclamation following EU threats to pull its funding.
More than 100 Polish regional administrations declared themselves to be zones free of what they claimed was “LGBT ideology”, while maintaining that such declarations in no way constituted discrimination against actual lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual persons.
However, the European Commission took a different view of the matter, claiming that such zones could represent a breach of EU law regarding non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation.
The declaration, initially backed by Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, expressed “opposition to the attempts to introduce LGBT ideology to local government communities and the promotion of this ideology in public life”.
The declaration went further, expressing strong opposition to “attempts by liberal political and social circles to promote an ideology based on LGBT affirmation”, claiming such attempts were “in clear contradiction to the cultural heritage” not only of the region, but also of Poland and Europe.
The Commission responded by freezing negotiations with five of the regions on the payment of funds from the cohesion recovery support programme, the REACT-EU package, under which Poland stands to receive more than 1.5 billion euro.
Swietokrzyskie, one of the regions which declared itself free from LGBT ideology, and which expected to receive EU funds, voted in a new motion on Wednesday, annulling the previous declaration.
While the Swietokrzyskie regional government on Wednesday emphasised the rights of parents to “raise their children in accordance to their beliefs”, it also pledged to provide “a guarantee of equality and fair treatment for all”.
Polish LGBT activists welcomed the first repeal of the declaration by a Polish region, acclaiming it as a great success. The liberal-leaning daily Gazeta Wyborcza described it as a “good day in the fight against discrimination”.