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European Parliament Condemns Poland's LGBTQ-Free Zones

European Parliament Condemns Poland's LGBTQ-Free Zones

At least 80 localities in Poland passed resolutions declaring themselves LGBTQ-free.

The European Parliament has condemned discrimination in Poland after 80 towns declared themselves as LGBTQ-free zones.

A resolution approved Wednesday by a 463-107 vote explicitly calls on the Polish government to revoke all resolutions and condemn the local governments passing the laws.

"In addition, MEPs call on the Commission to monitor how all EU funding is used, to remind stakeholders of their commitment to non-discrimination and that such funds must not be used for discriminatory purposes," reads a statement from Parliament.

Members of the European Parliament made note of growing homophobia throughout Europe as nationalist politicians resort to discriminatory rhetoric.

"Recent examples include homophobic statements during a referendum campaign in Romania and hate speech targeting LGBTI people in the context of elections in Estonia, Spain, the UK, Hungary and Poland," the statement continues.

The organization makes particular note of how the homophobic zones will impact LGBTQ youth in Polish jurisdictions where such resolutions have passed.

"MEPs highlight that, although legal measures against discrimination are in place in the majority of member states, they are not sufficiently implemented, leaving LGBTI people vulnerable to hate crimes, hate speech and discrimination," the statement concludes. "They recall that the EU Directive on non-discrimination, blocked by EU ministers for 11 years now, would help fill this gap in protection."

The move by Parliament comes as a particularly contentious year draws to close in Poland as far as LGBTQ rights. That has included violent clashes at Pride events between supporters and opponents of equality. A right-wing magazine earlier this year announced it would distribute free "LGBT-Free Zone" stickers in Warsaw, an action ultimately stopped by the courts.

A rise in LGBTQ activism has developed in response to the ascension of the arch-right Law and Justice party, whose leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, has said LGBTQ supporters "threaten our identity, threaten our nation, threaten the Polish state." It is the ruling party in the nation.

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