The European Parliament has overwhelmingly approved a resolution announcing the 27-member European Union is a “freedom zone” for LGBTQ people.
The result of the vote, 492 in favor and 141 against, was announced late Thursday after parliament held a debate on the resolution Wednesday in Brussels.
The declaration is primarily in response to years of rising homophobic animus in Poland and other member countries.
As Instinct has previously reported, several towns in Poland have adopted resolutions declaring their communities to be ‘LGBT-free zones.’ The largely symbolic statements have been embraced by conservative authorities in response to what they view as harmful ‘LGBT ideology’ they feel threatens their traditional families based on marriages between men and women.
LGBTQ advocates, however, say the resolutions are discriminatory in nature and tell gay and lesbian people they are unwelcome.
Last September, an open letter signed by ambassadors from 50 countries denounced the hostility towards LGBTQ people and called for affirming ‘the inherent dignity of each individual.’
At the time, the U.S. Ambassador to Poland, tweeted, ‘Human Rights are not an ideology – they are universal. 50 Ambassadors and Representatives agree.’
Human Rights are not an ideology – they are universal. 50 Ambassadors and Representatives agree. https://t.co/YV4qgkpz54
— Ambasador Mark Brzezinski (@USAmbPoland) September 27, 2020
Leaders in Poland responded saying the Polish people don’t need lessons in intolerance ‘because we are a nation that has learned such tolerance for centuries and we have given many testimonies to the history of such tolerance.’
During the parliamentary debate this week, Polish lawmakers clapped back again saying they have a ‘right to defend our families.’
The Polish government also claimed to have lower hate crime statistics than other Western European countries. But, since there’s no mention of LGBTQ people in that country’s penal code, the authorities don’t keep track of homophobic attacks. So, there’s no telling how many anti-LGBTQ crimes are committed.
The president of Poland, Andrzej Duda, won reelection last year embracing anti-LGBTQ policies. During the campaign, he remarked that LGBTQ “ideology” is more dangerous than communism.
In 2020, ILGA-Europe ranked Poland as the worst country in the European Union for LGBTQ people.