Following yesterday’s ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that gay people are entitled to adopt, a leading member of the governing political party in Poland has said they will defy the ruling.
The deputy speaker of the Parliament, Stefan Niesiolowski, is a member of the Citizen’s Platform (PO).
“The Court can go on and make a ruling, it still won’t be enforced in Poland,” he said.
“We will defend ourselves because it’s unthinkable that homosexuals would adopt children.”
Legal scholars have backed his position, claiming that the Court has no power to change rulings from Polish courts.
The European Court of Human Rights is not an EU institution, but rather is a creation of the Council of Europe.
The court enforces the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
It considers complaints of human rights violations committed by states who are members of the European Council.
The Court ruled yesterday that refusing gay couples the right to adopt a child because of their sexual orientation is discriminatory and in breach of the European Convention.
In the case of E.B. v France the Court held by ten votes to seven that there had been a violation of Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) in conjunction with Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Ms. E.B. is a lesbian nursery school teacher who has been living with another woman since 1990.
She applied for approval as a possible adoptive parent in February 1998, but her application was rejected.
In June 2002, the highest administrative court in France upheld the rejection of her application.
Polish gay rights activists were pleased with the verdict. Robert Biedron, president of the Campaign Against Homophobia, said:
“It’s a milestone. This decision prevents administrators of various countries from denying LGB people adoption which has happened in many places.
“I am shocked of the statements of some politicians who are trying to deny power of the European Court.”
93% of Poles are against adoption by homosexuals according to a recent opinion poll.
Gay activists in Poland were dismayed that the country’s newly-elected government are to continue the policy of opposition to the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights.
Before coming to power in November Donald Tusk had signalled he would sign up to the charter, which broadly mirrors the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights.
Former Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski of the Law and Justice party had claimed that Poland was “culturally different” from their EU partners, especially when it came to the rights of LGBT people and the use of the death penalty, and refused to sign up.
In a TV debate during the campaign Mr Tusk pledged to sign Poland up to the EU Charter.
However, in an address to the Polish parliament just atfter becoming Prime Minister, Tusk said he will honour the commitment of the previous government and join the UK as the only nations in the 27-member EU to opt out.
The charter became legally binding on EU institutions such as the European Court of Justice as part of the new Reform Treaty agreed by the EU heads of government in Lisbon.
The treaty needed a two-thirds majority vote in the Polish parliament to become law, which required the Law and Justice party to support it.
For this reason the government decided to retain the opt-out.
“Poland is not going to protect its citizens on equal level as 25 other EU member states,” commented Tomasz Szypula, Secretary General of Campaign Against Homophobia.
“In Poland there’s no anti-hate speech, anti-hate crime, anti-discriminatory laws which mention sexual orientation and now there won’t be the Charter of Fundamental Rights.”