European Court of Human Rights in Strasburg rules former Warsaw Mayor Lech Kaczynski broke law by forbidding Equality Parade in June 2005

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasburg has ruled that former Warsaw Mayor Lech Kaczynski broke the law by forbidding the Equality Parade two years ago. The ruling came as a number of top Polish officials are under fire for anti-gay comments.

In June of 2005 a gay and lesbian organization decided to hold the parade to draw attention to discrimination against homosexuals.
The group asked the City of Warsaw for the required permission to stage it. The city rejected the request on grounds the group failed to submit a traffic plan for the event.

The gay organization defied the authorities by holding the parade anyway on June 11. About 2,500 people attended.

The European Court of Human Rights said Warsaw?s refusal to give the gay organization permission to hold the parade was both unconstitutional and discriminatory.

Because the traffic-plan requirement made it more difficult to hold the parade, the court said, it violated the gay organization?s right to freedom of assembly, as guaranteed by Poland?s Constitution.

The city?s refusal to issue a parade permit to the gay organization was discriminatory, the court said, because a non-gay-related organization received permission to hold a march on the same day without having to file a traffic plan.
Polish officials have raised eyebrows across Europe with a series of anti-homosexual comments recently.

Members of the European Parliament have become so concerned that they asked  Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski to stop his ministers from making statements that they contend incite discrimination.

The European parliamentarians said they are also concerned about homophobia in the United Kingdom and Italy, but the main focus of a resolution they passed decrying the situation dealt with recent developments in Poland.

Polish Minister of Education Roman Giertych said during a meeting of European Union ministers of education in Heidelberg in early March that he believes ?propaganda about homosexuality? is being foisted on Polish children.
Giertych, who is also head of the League of Polish Families, added that ?homosexual propaganda must be limited so children will have the correct view of the family. There is no room, nor will there ever be any room, for homosexual activism within the school system in Poland on my watch.?

In March, Deputy Education Minister Orzechowski said the goal of a proposed law to prevent school children from being subjected to messages that homosexuality is a legitimate alternative lifestyle is to ?punish anyone who promotes homosexuality or any other deviance of a sexual nature in education establishments.?

Orzechowski also announced that ?teachers who reveal their homosexuality will be fired? and that school administrators who allow members of gay-rights organizations to speak with students will be sanctioned. Critics say such policies provoke intolerance and endanger democracy.

Many European politicians and rights groups have urged Poland to scrap the proposed homosexual-propaganda law.

Prime Minister Kaczynski contended that nobody is limiting gays? rights and that there will be no discrimination against gay teachers. However, he said, he agrees that homosexual propaganda in Polish schools doesn?t serve youth well. It is not in the interest of any society to increase the number of homosexuals, he added.
Some members of the European Parliament asked EU antiracism experts to look into ?the emerging climate of racist, xenophobic and homophobic intolerance in Poland.?
On the positive side, the European parliamentarians said they welcomed the fact that gay pride events are no longer systematically banned in Poland.

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