Gay couple excite press interest during visit to Poland
A New York couple who spoke out after footage of their wedding was used in a TV address by the President of Poland attacking gay rights are on a three-day visit to the country.
Brendan Fay and Tom Moulton met with gay rights leaders on the first day of their trip to the country, which was sponsored by TVN television.
President Lech Kaczynski’s speech to the nation last week used heavy-handed tactics to warn of the dangers of the Lisbon treaty.
Over footage of Mr Fay and Mr Moulton’s wedding in Canada the President, a notorious homophobe, claimed the Lisbon treaty would “affect the accepted moral order in Poland.”
Poland wants the EU treaty to include a preamble safeguarding the right of member states to opt out of the Charter of Fundamental Rights.
They have refused to sign up to the charter because of fears that it will clear the way for gay and lesbian marriage equality in Poland.
“We are very honoured to have Mr Fay and Mr Moulton here in order to start a public dialogue on domestic partnerships,” said Tomasz Szypula and Greg Czarnecki from the Campaign Against Homophobia (KPH).
“We are happy that the couple have received a lot of expressions of support from Poles both within the country and abroad.”
The gay couple’s arrival in Poland sparked considerable media interest.
Gay activists in Poland were dismayed late last year when the newly-elected Tusk government decided 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, the President’s twin brother, 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 an address to the Polish parliament just after taking office in November 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 is 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 Lisbon treaty needs a two-thirds majority vote in the Polish parliament to become law, which requires the Law and Justice party to support it.
For this reason the government decided to retain the opt-out.
Prime Minister Tusk has said that if the 460-member parliament does not ratify the treaty he will call a referendum.
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The Kaczynski brothers have caused several controversies within the LGBT community.
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 race, while Jaroslaw has also been known to make homophobic remarks during his political career.
As the then Mayor of Warsaw, Lech Kaczynski 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.”
In August 2006, when quizzed by the EU over his gay rights record, Jaroslaw Kaczynski said he was not a homophobe.
As Prime Minister he proposed a range homophobic legislation, but it was abandoned when he was defeated in last year’s election.