Court of Human Rights ruled against Poland Thursday for
refusing to authorize gay rights rallies in Warsaw two years
organization campaigning for gay rights submitted a
request to Warsaw authorities to protest discrimination
against minorities. The same group requested
permission to stage various rallies in the Polish
capital in June 2005.
The group was
denied permission on the grounds that it failed to submit a
plan to divert traffic from the selected location, but the
court said the ban, which could have discouraged
people from participating, violated the organizers'
rights to freedom of assembly.
The court also
said the ban was discriminatory, as organizers of other
rallies on the same day were not asked to submit a traffic
plan. The group did not seek any damages.
''It's a very
important step toward equality for gay and lesbian people
in Poland, and I think also in several other countries in
central and eastern Europe,'' said Robert Biedron,
president of the Campaign Against Homophobia and one
of the activists who brought the case to the court,
located in Strasbourg, France.
Poland has been
under fire recently because of a series of antigay
comments by senior government officials, including Prime
Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who said last month that
it was ''not in the interest of any society to
increase the number of homosexuals.''
The vast majority
of Poland's 38 million people are members of the Roman
Catholic Church, which considers homosexual behavior sinful.
Kaczynski's Law and Justice party, which won
parliamentary elections in September, 2005, has
stressed Catholic values. Law and Justice governs in
cooperation with the small, right-wing League of Polish
Families, which is militantly anti-abortion and
Earlier this year
Poland's deputy education minister Miroslaw Orzechowski
said that teachers deemed to be promoting ''homosexual
culture'' in Polish schools would be fired, and the
ministry announced it would draw up corresponding
prompted the European Parliament to vote to send a
fact-finding mission to Poland to see whether E.U.
antidiscrimination laws are being breached. No date
for the mission has been set yet. (AP)