The European Court of Human Rights on Thursday
ruled against Poland for refusing to authorize gay rights rallies in Warsaw two
A non-governmental organization campaigning for gay rights submitted a
request to Warsaw authorities to stage a march against discrimination of
minorities and various rallies in the Polish capital in June 2005.
The group was denied permission on the grounds that they failed to submit a
plan to divert traffic from the planned locations. The march went ahead
regardless, attended by 3,000 people and protected by the police. But the court
said the ban, which could have discouraged people from participating, violated
the organizers' rights to freedom of assembly.
The court also said the ban was discriminatory, as organizers of other
rallies on the same day were not asked to submit the traffic plan. The group did
not seek any damages.
Poland has been under fire recently because of a series of anti-gay comments
by senior government officials, including Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski who
said that it was "not in the interest of any society to increase the number of
The vast majority of Poland's 38 million people are members of the Roman
Catholic church, which considers homosexual behavior sinful. Kaczynski's Law and
Justice party, which won parliamentary elections in September, 2005, has
stressed Catholic values. Law and Justice governs in cooperation with the small,
right-wing League of Polish Families, which is militantly anti-abortion and
Earlier this year Poland's Deputy Education Minister Miroslaw Orzechowski
said that teachers deemed to be promoting "homosexual culture" in Polish schools
would be fired and the ministry announced it would draw up corresponding
The comments prompted the European Parliament to vote to send a fact-finding
mission to Poland to see whether EU anti-discrimination laws are being breached.
No date for the mission has been set yet.