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Poland’s Supreme Court rules against businessman who refused to serve LGBT group

Lydia Smith June 14, 2018

A Pride march in Poland in 2017.

The Supreme Court in Poland has ruled against a businessman who refused to print posters for an LGBT business group, saying he did not want to “promote” gay rights.

The top court in the country said it was upholding the ruling of a lower court in the city of Lodz.

The court had argued the law did not allow the man to refuse to serve the LGBT Business Forum.

The case was brought to the Supreme Court by the justice minister and attorney general Zbigniew Ziobro, who described the ruling as “wrong”.

Ziobro added the ruling was a “violation of the constitutional principle of freedom of conscience.”

LGBT people face hostility, stigma and discrimination in the predominantly Catholic, conservative society.

Thousands march for Pride in Poland every year

Poland lags behind most of western Europe on LGBT rights, banning same-sex marriage and adoption, and refusing to recognise transgender people.

The country made progress in recognising LGBT people in 2011, when a trans woman, Anna Grodzka, and an openly gay man, Robert Biedron, made history by being sworn into the Polish Parliament.

Yet in 2015, the pro-Roman Catholic Law and Justice Party rose to power, which LGBT rights activists say has coincided with a rise in hate crimes and anti-LGBT hate speech.

According to the annual Rainbow Europe survey by ILGA-Europe, a Brussels-based NGO, Poland scored just 18 percent on LGBT rights.

Russia scored just 10.9 percent and Azerbaijan was ranked the worst country for LGBTQ+ rights in Europe, with just 4.7 percent.

Discrimination is still rife in Poland

Despite this, thousands marched in cities across Poland this year to celebrate Pride month.

A record twelve LGBT pride marches took place across the country, including in the capital Warsaw.

LGBT activist Robert Biedron, the mayor of the town Slupsk, has also made headlines for his popularity and may even stand a chance as Poland’s new president.

Current polls indicate that one in four Poles intend to vote for the left-wing candidate, who entered his political career as an LGBT activist.

A member of the centre-left party Your Movement, 11.4 percent of Poland said they would be willing to vote for Biedron, according to a new poll.

He said on his website: “I am just a boy from Krosno, who is often swimming against the tide, a leader who can lead a dialogue and unite people. The son, brother, colleague, and finally Krzysztof’s partner.”

More: Europe, LGBT rights, Poland

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