Poland approves Lisbon Treaty with rights opt-out
Both Houses of the Polish parliament have approved the Lisbon Treaty with an opt-out from the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights.
The UK is the only other nation in the 27-member EU to opt out of the charter, which 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 needed a two-thirds majority vote in the Polish parliament to become law, which required the right-wing Law and Justice opposition party to support it.
It was approved by the Sejm, or lower house, on Tuesday and by the Senate the next day. President Lech Kazcynski has indicated he will sign the treaty.
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 Justice and Law Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the twin brother of the President, 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.
Last month a Presidential address to the nation tried to used heavy-handed tactics to warn of the dangers of the Lisbon treaty.
During the transmission images of a pre-World War Two map of Germany encompassing parts of Poland was interspersed with news footage of German Chancellor Angela Merkel talking to a campaigner for Germans expelled from Poland.
Over footage of two men getting married in Canada the President, a notorious homophobe, claimed the Lisbon treaty would “affect the accepted moral order in Poland.”
Despite the President’s dire warning that the treaty would lead to the introduction of gay marriage in Poland, 69% of respondents in a poll taken after the speech by daily newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza. did not believe him.
Overall 65% want the treaty to be approved and 15% do not. 64% of Poles do not think the Lisbon treaty will not lead to Nazi-era property claims.
Prime Minister Tusk commented after the Presidential address:
“Scaring Poles that the EU poses a danger on the part of homosexuals and Germans is foolish, indecent, contrary to our experience and fatally harmful to Poland.”
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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.