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group challenges Poland's antigay policies in European court

Civil rights
group challenges Poland's antigay policies in European court

A civil rights group said it filed a complaint Friday with the European Court of Human Rights over Polish authorities' decision to outlaw a gay pride parade earlier this year. Lech Kaczynski, then Warsaw mayor and now Poland's president-elect, opposed the June parade, saying it would promote "a homosexual lifestyle." "We want the court in Strasbourg to rule that the ban constituted an abuse of the European Convention on Human Rights," said Adam Bodnar of the Helsinki Human Rights Foundation, which prepared the complaint.

Bodnar said he hoped the court would back the complaint and deter similar moves by authorities in the future. Some 2,000 gay rights supporters took to the streets of Warsaw in defiance of the ban. Opponents shouting antigay slogans threw rocks and eggs at the protesters. Police detained several people involved in skirmishes.

Poland--a conservative, Roman Catholic country that joined the European Union last year--has been grappling with the issue of how far to go in accepting homosexuality, as gay rights groups grow more vocal. Demonstrations in several cities last month took place mostly peacefully. Kaczynski's socially conservative Law and Justice Party also won recent parliamentary elections. The new government favors traditional Roman Catholic values and opposes the legalization of same-sex marriage. (AP)

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