LGBTQ groups and other progressive organizations in Poland protested an anti-pride march bill introduced in the parliament by a citizens’ initiative led by right-wing groups. On Thursday, October 28, LGBTQ groups marched to the Polish parliament in protest when the parliament was debating the bill. While members from the far-right groups, including some from the incumbent Law & Justice (PiS) party, spoke in favor of the bill, members of the Polish left-wing parties, including Razem and New Left, opposed the bill. The right-wing-dominated lower house of the Polish parliament approved sending the bill to a commission on Friday.1
According to reports, the bill, introduced by conservative activist Kaja Godek, calls for a ban on gay pride marches and equality marches in the country. The Life and Family Foundation headed by Kaja Godek collected more than 140,000 signatures, mainly from hundreds of Roman Catholic parishes across the country, for the citizens’ initiative towards the bill. LGBTQ groups in Poland have been facing a tough period under the homophobic government led by the conservative PiS party. Braving the opposition from the government and the Catholic Church, rights groups have been organizing annual pride parades across major cities, which were often attacked by far-right sections. Earlier, Kaja Godek and her Life and Family Foundation had also supported the Polish constitutional court’s ban of abortion in the country.
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On Friday, the Polish LGBTQ rights group Equality Parade said, “Today’s reading in the Parliament is not about the ban on Equality March. This is a discussion about taking away our basic human rights – right to assemble and protest, right to speak when we see something bad and wicked happening, and the right to fight for equality.”
“Nevertheless, the Parade will keep going! You can’t shut us all down,” added the group.
On Friday, Paulina Matysiak, MP from Razem stated, “Freedom of peaceful assembly is a fundamental human right guaranteed in the Constitution of the Republic of Poland and documents of international law. Today, the first reading of a civic project will take place in Parliament that aims at banning the organization of equality marches and other assemblies, which are already addressing the difficult situation of LGBTQIA+ people in Poland. I will vote against this bill!”