Poland votes against killing abhorrent law that jails sex ed teachers and compares homosexuality with paedophilia
MPs in Poland have voted not to kill a controversial bill that would criminalise sex education and denounce those who teach it as paedophiles and LGBT+ activists.
The ‘Stop Paedophilia’ bill initiated by citizens proposes to jail teachers who “promote underage sex” in schools for up to three years.
Its authors justify it with the claim that those who teach sex education are often people who “groom and familiarise children with homosexuality”.
As LGBT+ activists raised serious concerns about the equation of homosexuality with paedophilia, thousands defied the coronavirus lockdown to protest from the cars.
As well as the sex education bill, they also protested a ban on abortion which was due for consideration on the same day.
Waving flags and banners from their vehicles, they condemned the Law and Justice Party (PiS) for voting on the controversial and inessential bills at a time when mass gatherings are banned to limit the spread of the virus.
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But MPs gathered to vote regardless, opting not to quash the homophobic law but instead to send it to a parliamentary commission for further work and consideration.
“I’m afraid [it was] a very cynical move by the members of parliament,” Draginja Nadazdin, director of Amnesty International Poland, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation on Thursday.
“Instead of listening to tens of thousands of people who defied [the] COVID lockdown, participated in protests both online and offline, they decided to continue working on it.”
However, other LGBT+ advocates saw the move to send the bill to a parliamentary commission as a positive sign.
“It’s a tradition for bills that the government don’t want to pass, but still won’t outright vote ‘no’ for, so as not to enrage some lobby groups,” said Ola Kaczorek, the co-president of the Love Does Not Exclude Association, an LGBT+ advocacy group.
“We can relax for the time being, then.”
If the bill is passed it could see sex education teachers imprisoned for up to three years. It’s feared that those teach about sexual orientation, discrimination and reproductive health could also be prosecuted under the law.