Current Affairs

NY gay couple demand meeting with Polish leader

PinkNews Staff Writer March 26, 2008
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An American gay activist and his partner, whose wedding video was used by the President of Poland during a televised address to the nation in which he warned of the danger of same-sex marriage, want an apology and a meeting.

Brendan Fay, who is originally from Ireland, met with journalists yesterday at the headquarters of New York-based advocacy group Human Rights Watch (HRW).

President Kaczynski’s address to the nation last week used heavy-handed tactics to warn of the dangers of the Lisbon treaty.

The President, a notorious homophobe, claimed the EU treaty would “affect the accepted moral order in Poland,” while showing a copy of Mr Fay and his partner Tom’s Canadian wedding certificate and video footage of their wedding ceremony.

Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk accused the President of being “foolish and indecent” in trying to scare people about the new EU treaty.

“We want to avoid a court case which is why we’ve given the (Polish) Consul a letter for the President in which we request a meeting with together with me and my partner,” Mr Fay said yesterday.

He was accompanied by HRW’s Executive Director of the Lesbian, Gay,

Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Programme Scott Long and the New York representative of the Campaign Against Homophobia, Daniel Domagala.

“Poland has a long tradition of fighting against repression, which is why Lech Kaczynski should apologise to the representatives of sexual minorities in Poland for using the wedding photos of a gay couple to sow homophobia,” said Mr Long.

“We also appeal to the Polish government to pass legislation which would fight against all forms of discrimination, including discrimination based on sexual orientation.”

Lawyer and former director of the NY branch of the American Civil Liberties Union Norman Siegel commented:

“It would be good for the President to keep in mind that he is the head of a country in which at least two million homosexual people live.

“We are hopeful that he is able to overcome his personal prejudices and stand in guard of an open and tolerant Polish Republic.”

An opinion poll published yesterday found strong backing for a new EU treaty criticised by the country’s homophobic President in an address to the nation last week.

Despite the President’s dire warning that the treaty would lead to the introduction of gay marriage in Poland, 69% of respondents did not believe him.

Overall 65% want the treaty to be approved and 15% do not.

On a state visit to Ireland at the beginning of last year President Kaczynski said that the promotion of homosexuality would lead to the eventual destruction of the human rac and as the then Mayor of Warsaw he banned the city’s gay pride parade in 2004.

He also banned the event in 2005 while allowing a homophobic counter-demonstration, the “Parade of Normality.”

Scroll down to watch President Kaczynski’s address to the nation. In Polish with German subtitles.

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