The European Parliament has voted to condemn the rampant state-sanctioned homophobia in Poland.
On Wednesday, 463 members of the European Parliament, E.U.’s legislative branch voted in favor of a resolution condemning the growing number of attacks on LGBT and intersex people (LGBTI) in the E.U. by politicians and local governments.
Recent examples include homophobic statements during a referendum campaign in Romania and hate speech targeting LGBTI people in the context of elections in Estonia, Spain, the UK, Hungary and Poland, the parliament said in a statement.
However, the measure, which also saw 107 MEPs voting against it, as well as 105 abstentions, explicitly condemned the development of so-called zones that are “free of LGBTI ideology” in Poland.
These areas have been adopted since the beginning of the year by dozens of municipalities, counties and regions in the Polish southeast.
Currently more than 80 local governments in the Central European nation have declared to be “LGBTI-free zones.”
Authorities use state resources to promote an environment that undermines and endangers the rights of LGBTQ people in the country, the Human Rights Watch has determined.
MEPs demanded swift action from the Polish government, and urged “Polish authorities to condemn these acts and to revoke all resolutions attacking LGBTI rights,” the parliament stated.
In April, the chairman of Poland’s conservative ruling party — and the country’s de facto leader — Jarosław Kaczyński, made headlines when he called the LGBTQ rights movement a foreign ideology that threatened the nation, The Associated Press reported at the time.
Three months later, a district court ordered the Gazeta Polska, a Polish right-wing magazine, to stop distributing “LGBT-free zone” stickers. They showed a black cross superimposed on a rainbow flag.
The magazine started distributing the stickers around the same time when far-right groups violently attacked the first-ever LGBTQ Pride parade in the eastern city of Bialystok, which took place on July 20.
In addition to the strong condemnation to Poland’s anti-LGBTQ stance this week, MEPs also called on the European Commission to monitor how funding is being used by the E.U., reminding “stakeholders of their commitment to non-discrimination and that such funds must not be used for discriminatory purposes.”
The MEPs have found that anti-discrimination measures currently in place are not sufficiently implemented, “leaving LGBTI people vulnerable to hate crimes, hate speech and discrimination.”