Poland’s President Andrzej Duda whipped up a crowd of right-wing supporters yesterday with promises of a renewed crackdown on the LGBTQ+ community. His “Family Card” of proposals would outlaw marriage equality and prevent child adoption by LGBTQ+ families, and is seen by many as an attempt to secure his base against new polls showing a near deadlock in this month’s election.
“It’s a foreign ideology,” Duda is quoted by Reuters in a speech to his supporters yesterday. “There is no consent for this phenomenon to happen in our country in any way.”
Duda is a registered Independent, but allies with the right-wing Law and Justice Party (PiS). PiS actively fights against protections for LGBTQ+ persons, and recently supported a “Stop Pedophilia” bill that calls for punishing anyone who “promotes or approves sexual intercourse or other sexual activity by a minor” with up to three years in prison. The proposal, along with a similar “Stop Abortion” bill under consideration, received international condemnation.
Poland was recently in the headlines when YouTubers, Jakub and Dawid Mycek-Kwiecinski, got intimate in an advertisement for Durex condoms and were the first same-sex couple to appear in a national television commercial. The PiS-controlled TVP television network refused outright to air the commercial, citing supposed complaints from viewers as well as a section of the 1992 law governing broadcasting requiring that programming “shall respect the religious beliefs of the public and especially the Christian system of values." Competing stations Polestar and the Discovery Channel-owned TVN aired the commercials without controversy.
Recent polling data reported by the Warsaw Business Journal shows a tightening race between Duda his main opponent liberal Warsaw Mayor Rafał Trzaskowski of the Civic Platform Party (PO), which is more centrist with both a left and right wing within their ranks. While these results indicate Duda would win a plurality in the first round of voting, the second round is now a near tie. Under Polish law, a candidate must win an absolute majority in order to win office.
While the news of a possible loss for Duda is encouraging for the LGBTQ+ community, hopes should be tempered. Trzaskowski gained kudos for his introduction of LGBTQ+ education in Warsaw schools, but his tolerance goes only so far. He supports civil partnerships for LGBTQ+ persons, but not adoptions.
The Polish presidential election takes place Sunday, June 28. It had been postponed from May 10.