Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has slammed co-called “LGBT-free zones” in Poland.
The former Vice President responded to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who used her first State of the Union address to criticize the exclusionary zones that have emerged in the Eastern European country, the Associated Press reports.
A number of towns, cities, and regions in Poland have passed ordinances banning the promotion of LGBTQ rights, establishing the “LGBT-free zones,” and come amid rising anti-LGBTQ animus in the country.
Von der Leyen characterized the “LGBT-free zones” as “humanity-free zones,” and said they have “no place in our Union.” She also said that the commission, the European Union’s politically independent executive arm, would introduce a plan to improve LGBTQ equality in Europe.
Biden responded to von der Leyen’s comments in a tweet, which included the AP‘s reporting.
“Let me be clear: LGBTQ+ rights are human rights — and “LGBT-free zones” have no place in the European Union or anywhere in the world,” he wrote.
Let me be clear: LGBTQ+ rights are human rights — and “LGBT-free zones” have no place in the European Union or anywhere in the world. https://t.co/zc8YvSq6iN
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) September 21, 2020
Around one-third of people in Poland now live in one of the “LGBT-free zones,” which have flourished under the ruling Law and Justice Party, which has repeatedly targeted the country’s LGBTQ population since assuming power in 2015.
Earlier this year, Polish lawmakers introduced the “Stop Pedophilia” bill, which aimed to ban sex education by labeling teachers as gay activists and pedophiles.
And last year, the Law and Justice Party used the specter of LGBTQ rights to drive people to the polls for the European Parliament Elections, portraying LGBTQ rights as dangerous “foreign” ideas that undermine traditional values in the heavily Catholic country, as well as a “real threat to our identity, to our nation.”
During her State of the Union address, von der Leyen rejected the notion that LGBTQ rights pose a threat to others.
“I will not rest when it comes to building a union of equality,” the Commission President said. “A Union where you can be who you are and love who you want — without fear of recrimination or discrimination.
“Because being yourself is not your ideology,” she said. “It’s your identity. And no one can ever take it away.”
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