Polish lawmakers have voted not to kill a law that compares LGBT+ people to pedophiles and which could end sex education.
Poland’s anti-LGBT+ Law and Justice Party are taking advantage of the coronavirus restrictions to pass the legislation.
Protestors will find it harder to act against the proposed law as mass gatherings are banned during the pandemic.
A group of Polish citizens proposed the new law. Under the country’s constitution, they can submit legislative proposals if they can gather at least 100,000 signatures.
The bill against sex education sits alongside another proposed measure to limit abortions.
But not all Poles agree with it. Protestors got around social distancing rules by protesting from their cars honking horns and holding up signs against both bills. They also protested online.
False pedophilia claims
The ‘Stop Pedophilia’ bill’s backers sent a document to parliament to support their proposed law. In it they make far-fetched claims about sex education. It says:
‘The organisations and activists most involved in the promotion of sexual “education” in our country are the LGBT lobby.
‘In Western Europe, members of these movements involved in implementing sex education in schools were convicted of paedophilia.’
It adds the claim that ‘children are sexually awakened and familiarised with homosexuality’ during sex education lessons,. And it says the ‘LGBT lobby’ use the lessons ‘to achieve radical political goals’ including legalising adoption by LGBT+ couples.
If the law goes ahead, sex educators who ‘promote’ underage sex would face three years jail.
Unsurprisingly, sex educators and LGBT+ campaigners fear the law would be used unfairly. They warn it could end up stopping all sex education in schools if it goes ahead.
Moreover, they say the law would make schools even less welcoming to LGBT+ kids who already face bullying and exclusion.
Yesterday, parliament faced three options. They could reject the bill, take it to a second reading to debate further or send it to a parliamentary commission for further review.
Some campaigners are angry they didn’t listen to the protests against the proposed law and reject it.
But others are pleased they voted to send it to a parliamentary commission.
Ola Kaczorek is co-president of the LGBT+ Love Does Not Exclude Association. She told Reuters:
‘It’s a tradition for bills that the government don’t want to pass, but still won’t outright vote “no” for so as not to enrage some lobby groups.
‘We can relax for the time being then.’
LGBT Free Zones
The bill represents a further ramping up of hatred against LGBT+ people in Poland.
Same-sex marriage is illegal in the country and anti-discrimination laws only cover employment rather than LGBT+ access to goods and services.
Last year, the ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS) targeted ‘western LGBT ideology’ for attack as an election tactic.
It was an attempt to shore-up popularity with its nationalist right-wing base. The PiS has become less popular and faced corruption allegations since coming to power in 2015.
Meanwhile, several Polish cities and districts declared their neighborhoods to be ‘LGBT Free Zones’.
The zones are not legally enforceable but have made LGBT+ Poles feel threatened and excluded.