Volume 5, Number 34 | August 24-30, 2006

Polish Gays to Sue Ruling Party
As president’s party steps up crude homophobic campaign, activists look to hate statute

<< In one of the Polish ruling party’s latest anti-gay provocations, Waldemar Bonkowski, a leading Parliament member from the northern city of Koscierzyna, hung a banner in his headquarters reading, in part, “Today it’s gays and lesbians — what’s next, zoophilia… Our Polish pope is looking down from the sky and asking, Whither Goest Thou, Poland?”

BY DOUG IRELAND

Polish gays are fighting back against the notoriously homophobic new government there, announcing plans to sue the ruling Law and Justice Party over two fresh examples of homophobic propaganda.

In one incident, Pawel Zyzak, editor in chief of a party bulletin, Right Turn!, wrote that gays are “animals” and were “the emissaries of Satan sent to destroy the Catholic Church.” Poland is the most heavily Catholic country in Europe, and the Church was strengthened for more than a decade before the fall of communism by the papacy of John Paul II.

At the same time, in the northern city of Koscierzyna, Waldemar Bonkowski, a leading Law and Justice member of Parliament who is also a member of the party’s governing council, placed a large, homophobic banner on the wall of the local party headquarters. “Today it’s gays and lesbians — what’s next, zoophilia? Is that liberty and democracy? No, that’s syphilisation! Our Polish pope is looking down from the sky and asking, Whither Goest Thou, Poland?” the banner read.

Well-known gay activist Lukasz Palucki told Gay City News, “I’m working with lawyers to prepare a lawsuit against the Law and Justice Party under Section 212 and 216 of Polish criminal law for these two hate-filled statements.”

Those sections of the law prohibit hate speech and incitement to discrimination.

“Even though the party is trying to control Poland’s courts and judges, and even though a lawsuit is expensive, we will do it,” Palucki added.

The right-wing, nationalist Law and Justice Party, which came to power in elections last fall, is headed by the ultra-homophobic Kaczynski brothers — Lech Kaczynski is Poland’s president, and last month he named his identical twin brother Jaroslav as the country’s prime minister. The Kaczynskis brought into their coalition government the notoriously homophobic League of Polish Families, a Catholic extremist party whose leader, Roman Gietych, was named minister of education — an appointment that generated protest marches in a dozen Polish cities led by gays, left opposition parties, and the teachers’ union. Prime Minister Jaroslav Kaczynski has announced his intention to seek a law banning gays from teaching in the schools.

In June, the European Parliament passed a resolution condemning the new Polish regime’s homophobia, and specifically denounced the League, whose leaders “incite people to hatred and violence” against gay people, said the resolution.

After the country’s leading daily newspaper, Gazeta Wyborcza, gave prominent coverage to the two latest incidents of homo-hate by the Kaczynskis’ party, the incident became a media event. A vice president of the Law and Justice Party, Tadeusz Cymanski, said of the anti-gay banner erected by Bonkowski, “I fully agree with my colleague. We have to stop expansion of gay movements —and we will!”

Gay activist Palucki, one of the organizers of this year’s successful Warsaw Gay Pride March, explained that “the Polish word in Bonkowski’s banner, ‘syfilizacja’ [syphilization] is a word of his own invention made by combining syphilis and civilization. He also can’t even speak good Polish — ‘zoophilia’ in Polish should be written ‘zoofile,’ but he wrote ‘zoofilisci.’ We’re dealing here with an uneducated cretin.”

Michal Rolecki of the Web site GayPoland.pl told Gay City News that the homophobic article in the Law and Justice party bulletin by Zyzak “was pseudo-theological nonsense — it really means the author should see a psychiatrist.”

In a related development, Polish police announced that, after a three-month investigation, they have arrested the man responsible for knifing an activist whose name and photo had appeared on a hit list published by the neo-nazi Blood and Honor Web site. The Web site targeted lesbian and gay activists as “enemies of the white race” and called for their assassination, providing their photographs, names, and addresses.

During this year’s Warsaw Gay Pride March, members of the Law and Justice Party’s youth division, the All-Polish Youth — a thuggish strong-arm group, largely composed of skinheads, which has been responsible for many violent attacks on gay events, and many of whose members are also members of Blood and Honor — were observed taking photographs of participants in the Pride March. Gay activists suspected that the photos would have wound up on the Blood and Honor Web site.

The police said that the 24-year-old Blood and Honor member arrested in the stabbing of the activist had confessed to the crime. As a result of the police investigation, the hit list of gays and lesbians was taken down from the Web site — at least for the moment.

Also, Warsaw city authorities announced earlier this month that they would refuse any request for a subsidy for the city’s annual Gay Pride March after newspapers reported that Pride organizers planned to seek financial help from the city on the grounds that the march helps promote tourism, and constituted a boon to the Warsaw‘s hotels, restaurants, and bars. More than 1,000 foreigners came to Warsaw in June to join in the Pride March, but Miroslaw Kochalski, a spokesman for the mayor, said the march was “immoral and a danger to the inhabitants of Warsaw,” and that no request for a subsidy would be considered.

Doug Ireland can be reached through his blog, DIRELAND, at http://direland.typepad.com/
direland/.

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