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Poland's
president says his views on gays are misunderstood

Poland's
president says his views on gays are misunderstood

Polish president Lech Kaczynski, a staunch Roman Catholic, said his views on issues like traditional national values and gay people are misunderstood.

Polish president Lech Kaczynski, a staunch Roman Catholic, said his views like traditional national values and gay people are misunderstood. Kaczynski, of the socially conservative Law and Justice Party, took office in December on pledges that included making sure that Poland's traditional Roman Catholic values were not overwhelmed by the generally liberal European viewpoint. Poland, a former Soviet bloc country, joined the European Union in 2004. "I am aware that often the things I say are not in line with the European correctness," Kaczynski said in an interview Monday with the Associated Press in New York. "Even more, I am ascribed views that are not really mine." But he stressed the need to "verbalize our problems in Europe.... This is much more important than the hasty integration, a hasty killing of a national country that is an incomparably better center for consolidating people than an anonymous, bureaucratic, and cold European Union." Kaczynski, a lawyer, has drawn criticism from E.U. members for saying that privately he supports the death penalty in cases of heinous murders, although he acknowledged that no changes in Polish law can be made against E.U. standards that ban capital punishment. He has also been criticized for speaking against same-sex marriage. He says property and inheritance issues for gay couples can be settled by lawyers. Talking to the AP, he defended his views. "I do not support the turning-back of the wheel of history," Kaczynski said, noting he is for equal rights for women and is "not an enemy" of gay people. "I only think that we cannot say that there are two equal cultures," he said. "If we said so, that would mean we are saying that our fate is extinction. "I have a certain fear here, but that does not mean that I intend to persecute anyone, that I intend to prevent him from living, from making a career, from working, from being a soldier." Kaczynski, whose identical twin brother, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, is the prime minister, is in New York on a four-day visit to attend the annual general assembly session of the United Nations. Both brothers are former activists in the Solidarity trade union movement that helped topple communist rule in 1989-1990. (Monika Scislowska, AP)

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