Warsaw, June 17, 2020
As the June 28th presidential elections quickly approach, Polish President Andrzej Duda has vowed to ban teaching about LGBT issues in the nation’s schools.
The President is an ally of the right-wing Law and Justice Party, which considers LGBT ideology an invasive foreign influence that undermines the nation’s traditional Catholic values.
A few days later, Duda also spoke of LGBT ideology as “more destructive” than communism.
“Parents are responsible for the sexual education of their children. It is not possible for any institutions to interfere in the way parents raise their children,” he told a group of supporters, last Wednesday, Reuters reports.
In 2018, Duda also backed legislation that would have banned homosexual propaganda in schools and youth organizations.
He also pledged that he would not allow gay couples to marry or adopt, calling it a “foreign ideology” that is not accepted by Polish society. Poland does not legally recognize same-sex partnerships, though attitudes are slowly shifting.
Conversely, Duda’s main opponent, the liberal Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, has drawn criticism for introducing education about LGBT matters into Warsaw schools and supports homosexual civil partnerships, but reportedly would not allow them to adopt.
Speaking at a campaign event in Brzeg, a small town in southwestern Poland, on Saturday, Duda noted that LGBT “is not people—it’s an ideology,” calling it more destructive than communism.
“The generation of my parents did not fight for forty years to kick the communist ideology out of schools … in order for us to now accept that another ideology should arrive, that is even more destructive for people,” the President said, describing the LGBT rights movement as “neo-Bolshevism.”
Poland has a deep history and its own culture, Duda emphasized, and “We won’t let any ideology, neither communist, nor socialist, nor any other take it away from us, because this is our identity. And let no one try to lead our children on the wrong path, because we won’t allow it.”
Though polls show LGBT support slowly rising overall in Poland, the people remain staunchly conservative especially outside of the cities. According to Balkan Insight, beginning in early 2019, nearly 100 municipalities, covering a third of Poland, have adopted non-binding “pro-family” and “anti-LGBT propaganda” resolutions.
While President Duda’s stance was warmly welcomed in the small town, his comments have also been heavily criticized as hateful and anti-progressive.
Donald Tusk, Poland’s former Prime Minister wrote that, “The President of the Republic should take care of its reputation. Andrzej Duda is doing everything to ruin it. His campaign is an embarrassment in front of the whole world.”
Poland’s Campaign Against Homophobia said: “Mr President, let us say it out loudly and clearly once again: there is no such thing as ‘LGBT ideology’, it’s just a homophobic construct. LGBTs are lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender persons who personally experience the consequences of homophobic and transphobic hate which you also fuel.”
Conversely, President Duda’s stance was welcomed within the Russian Orthodox Church. Vladimir Legoida, the Chairman of the Synodal Department for Relations Between the Church, Society, and Media, commented that, “Whatever the relations between Poland and Russia under President Andrzej Duda, the firm position of the Polish head of state regarding the promotion of homosexuality is respected.”
Russia and Poland hold basic Christian values in common, Legoida noted, adding that the concept of marriage as the union of a man and a woman is also included in the proposed amendments to the Russian constitution.
Last month, the Prosecutor’s Office in Warsaw accused the HR manager of a local IKEA of violating a Christian employee’s rights on religious grounds after the employee was fired for refusing to participate in an event in support of the LGBT community and for posting Bible quotes on the corporate website.
And last May, Polish police detained a woman for blasphemously depicting the famous Black Madonna Icon of the Theotokos with LGBT rainbow-colored halos for Christ and His Most Pure Mother.