Polish Region Rejects Anti-LGBT Resolution Under Threat of Losing EU Funding

A southern Poland region rejected an anti-LGBT resolution Wednesday in an effort to keep funding from the European Union, the Associated Press reported.

The resolution, initially passed in 2019, was framed as "opposition to the attempts to introduce LGBT ideology to local government communities and the promotion of this ideology in public life."

When the regional assembly of Swietokrzyskie voted to revoke it in a special session Wednesday, it became the first of the country's scattering of areas, sometimes referred to as "LGBT-free zones," to lift the type of measure, AP reported. Poland's government previously called on the regions seeking to block the introduction of "LGBT ideology" to reverse their resolutions.

The reversal for the conservative government came after the EU placed a hold on millions of euros meant to help fund the Polish regions, prompting leaders to backtrack so they wouldn't lose the aid.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Protest Against Poland Vote
When the regional assembly of Swietokrzyskie voted to revoke anti-LGBT legislation in a special session Wednesday, it became the first of Poland's “LGBT-free zones” to lift that type of measure. Above, members of the European Parliament roll out a banner to express their support for LGBTIQ rights by calling for the EU to be an LGBTIQ "Freedom Zone" as a vote takes place at the parliament on March 9, 2021. John Thys/AFP via Getty Images

The rejected measure in Swietokrzyskie also declared "deep disapproval and strong opposition to the attempts by liberal political and social circles to promote an ideology based on LGBT affirmation, which are in clear contradiction to the cultural heritage and centuries-old Christian traditions not only of the...region but also of Poland and Europe."

Members of Poland's ruling Law and Justice, party had supported the resolutions, which local communities said were intended to protect families based on unions of a man and a woman.

The anti-LGBT resolutions were part of a backlash against an increasingly visible gay rights movement in Poland. Rights activists said the "LGBT-free" designations made gays and lesbians feel unwelcome.

LGBT rights activists had been urging the EU to do act more forcefully to protect them from discrimination, and they welcomed the development.

Activist Bart Staszewski called it a "great day for Poland and great success of activists and civil society. I am really moved."

Meanwhile, the liberal newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza said the region's action marked "a good day in the fight against discrimination."

EU leaders had denounced the resolutions as discriminatory, and the EU Parliament reacted earlier this year by passing a resolution declaring the entire 27-member EU a "freedom zone" for LGBT people.

According to Polish media reporters Wednesday, Swietokrzyskie's assembly passed a new resolution in the place of the old one stating that Poland's Constitution guarantees parents the right to raise their children in accordance with their beliefs and views but also provides "a guarantee of equality and fair treatment for all."

Poland Region Rejects Legislation
A region in southern Poland has revoked an anti-LGBT resolution under the threat of losing European Union funding. Above, a man stands on a rainbow flag as he attends a demonstration of far-right activists against LGBT rights in Warsaw, Poland, on August 16, 2020. Czarek Sokolowski/AP Photo