Metro Weekly

Polish town rescinds resolution opposing “LGBT ideology” to salvage reputation

Nowa Dęba becomes first municipality to no longer identify as an "LGBT-free zone" after its Irish sister city cut ties with it

poland, lgbt, town
A public park in Nowa Dęba – Photo: Facebook

A town in southeastern Poland has become the first municipality in the country to rescind a resolution declaring itself opposed to “LGBT ideology” in an effort to save its reputation following backlash from its sister city in Ireland.

In July 2019, the council in Nowa Dęba, a town of 11,000 people, adopted a resolution pledging to “defend against aggressive, deceptive and harmful LGBT ideology” and “homo-propaganda,” following the lead of hundreds of other municipalities that have sought to oppose any recognition of homosexuality.

Such resolutions have been encouraged by the ruling Law and Justice Party, a right-wing populist party that has sought to demonize immigrants and foreign influences — which they claim includes “LGBT ideology” — to garner support among conservative, rural voters.

Those municipalities that do not explicitly attack “LGBT ideology” have passed so-called “family charters” that emphasis marriage as an institution involving only two opposite-sex partners, and promising to “protect children from moral corruption,” based on age-old tropes that LGBTQ advocates are seeking to indoctrinate children.

But there has been a backlash from the European Union, which has stated that places that designate themselves as so-called “LGBT-free zones” could lose financial support.

In addition, several cities in other countries have sought to sever relationships with their Polish sister cities that have adopted such resolutions.

Last October, the Irish city of Fermoy, which has a twinning agreement with Nowa Dęba, voted to end the agreement between the cities due to the anti-LGBTQ declaration, reports Notes from Poland.

Officials in Poland were outraged, alleging that the city was being unfairly smeared as hostile to the LGBTQ community, arguing that the resolutions are statements of values, but are not legally binding.

“I tried to explain to our partners [in Fermoy]…that our community is full of tolerance and devoid of discrimination…against anyone on the basis of sexual orientation or other characteristics,” Wiesław Ordon, the mayor of Nowa Dęba, said in a statement. “We will continue to undertake measures to prevent any behavior discriminating against any minority, including LGBT people. This is because of the values ​​of respecting the rights of others and the risk of losing financial support from the EU.”

But late last month, the Nowa Dęba town council finally decided to rescind its resolution opposing “LGBT ideology,” becoming the first in the country to make such a move.

Two other municipalities that came under criticism had considered repealing similar resolutions, but ultimately decided to keep them in place.

See also: Joe Biden criticizes “LGBT-free zones” in Poland

Meanwhile, the national Polish government seems determined to flout the European Union and calls from outsiders to rescind such resolutions.

Local authorities are wary of taking any actions that could be seen as condoning homosexuality, and have called for denying funding for non-governmental organizations that promote LGBTQ equality.

Last August, the country’s justice minister gave a check to one municipality to compensate it for being excluded from the EU’s town-twinning program.

According to the local newspaper Tygodnik Nadwiślański, 10 of Nowa Dęba’s 15 councillors voted to rescind the resolution, one abstained, and four others did not vote. 

Damian Diektiarenko, a Law and Justice politician and head of the Council, argued that the resolution had been “misunderstood” and exploited to harm the town’s reputation.

“We cannot allow anyone to use this [issue] against our municipality. We cannot allow anyone to tarnish [our] image by exploiting this declaration,” Diektiarenko said.

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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