Catholics in Poland are calling for a boycott of furniture retailer IKEA because its catalogue features pictures of same-sex couples.
National newspapers and news websites have covered the story and the concerns of some religious people that the Swedish company is “trampling” on Christian concepts of family.
“I would not like to cease doing shopping in IKEA but if the firm does not stop promoting homosexual relationships, I will, unfortunately, feel compelled to do so and I will notify about it all the people I know so that they do the same,” one Catholic woman wrote.
For their part, IKEA has robustly defended its advertising and has refused to respond to the boycott.
“Homosexuality is one of the essential elements of living in contemporary society,” said IKEA spokesperson Karolina Horoszczak.
The boycott is being led by Fronda.pl website.
“Treating single-sex relationships on a par with married couples is impermissible,” said Grzegorz Górny, the editor-in-chief of Fronda.
“IKEA’s publication is a promotion of a particular style of living, which does not deserve public propagation.
“This is connected with the strategy of accustoming people to homosexual relationships and then of legalising such relationships.
“This is done to establish their picture in society as equal and then to legalise them.”
Founded in 1943, IKEA employs more than 120,000 in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia.
It has operated in Poland since 1991 and there are seven stores, with a new one opening in Lodz next year.
In 2007 the American Family Association (AFA) accused the Swedish furniture retailer of trying to force a liberal, “homosexuality-affirming” world view on US consumers through advertising.
The association, who claim to promote “traditional family values,” said IKEA routinely promote gay lifestyles.
The ad showed a gay male couple playing on the floor with their young daughter. As they lean back against their IKEA sofa, a voiceover says: “Why shouldn’t sofas come in flavours, like families?”
Some Polish politicians are among the most homophobic in Europe.
A gay parent who is in a sexual relationship should have their children taken from them, according to a member of the governing Civil Platform party.
Stefan Niesiolowski, who is a deputy Speaker of the Polish parliament, told a TV audience in June that same-sex families are abnormal and described lesbian couples with children as a “serious pathology.”
Former Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski and his twin brother, Lech Kaczynski, the current President, caused controversy within the LGBT community for their anti-gay stance.
The pair banned several gay pride marches in the country and on a state visit to Ireland at the beginning of this year Lech Kaczynski said that the promotion of homosexuality would lead to the eventual destruction of the human race.
Poland was widely mocked last year when it was revealed that Ewa Sowinska, a government-appointed children rights watchdog, said she would ask psychologists to advise if the Teletubbies’ camp antics could affect children.
“I noticed [Tinky Winky] has a lady’s purse, but I didn’t realise he’s a boy,” she said.
“At first I thought the purse would be a burden for this Teletubby. . . Later I learned that this may have a homosexual undertone.”
Her office later dropped the issue.
Miss Sowinska, a member of the militantly anti-gay and anti-abortion League of Polish Families, resigned in May.
The party was a junior coalition partner in Poland’s previous government but lost its seats in parliament in an election last year.
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