LGBT Rights Are Flashpoint in Culture War Dividing Europe’s East and West
TUCHÓW, Poland—Last year, this small Polish town near the eastern edge of the European Union passed a resolution proclaiming itself a “municipality free of LGBT ideology.” In July, the EU responded by stripping funding for a program connecting Tuchów with a sister city in France.
For EU authorities, Tuchów had violated a fundamental right not to be discriminated against based on sexual orientation or gender, something protected in the bloc’s treaties and high-court case law. Some locals here, in a stronghold of Poland’s newly re-elected President Andrzej Duda, don’t see it that way.
In Poland, the governing Law and Justice party has adopted strident antigay rhetoric. Mr. Duda has called homosexuality a “neo-Bolshevik plague.”
“We don’t feel safe,” said Bart Staszewski, a prominent Polish LGBT activist. “We feel like second-class citizens because the entire state apparatus is being used to prove that we are that enemy.”
On Sunday, supporters of a far-right party staged a protest using the slogan “Stop the LGBT aggression” outside Warsaw University, chanting slogans and burning a rainbow flag. Police kept them separate from LGBT activists, some of whom had written lawyers’ telephone numbers on their forearms following police detentions of activists earlier this month…
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