By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com April 10 2010 7:25 PM ET
Izabela Jaruga-Nowacka, a former Polish deputy prime minister and a strong gay rights supporter, was among those who perished in the Saturday plane crash that also killed Polish president Lech Kaczynski and dozens of political and military leaders. She was 59.
Jaruga-Nowacka, who served as deputy PM from 2004 to 2005, was a well-known critic of Kacynzki's antigay policies, including the repeated cancellation of gay pride marches when he was the mayor of Warsaw, Pink News reports.
A regular speaker at gay rights rallies in Poland, Jaruga-Nowacka told a Warsaw crowd in 2005, "We are for democracy. We are for protection of all human rights, not only for some groups who are in the majority in Poland. All citizens have the right to choose their own way of life."
The envoy was traveling to Russia to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the massacre of some 20,000 Polish officers by the Soviets during World War II. Russian emergency officials reported 97 people on board were killed, according to The New York Times, and there are no survivors.