In May 2003, after the referendum on Poland’s entry into the European Union, homosexual organizations in our country became very active. Their main goal was to have same-sex “marriage” legalized before the official date of Poland’s entry into the EU, one year later.
In December 2003, the TFP-inspired Fr. Peter Skarga Association for Christian Culture stood in defense of marriage and family by opposing a bill that would legalize same-sex unions, and give such couples the same rights as married couples. The bill, however, did not allow homosexual adoption of children.
Supported by the Alliance of the Democratic Left (SLD) and other leftist parties, the homosexual lobby hoped for a quick and quiet legalization of the so-called civil unions. The draft of the bill was sent to the Senate committees at the end of November 2003. Few politicians apart from the interested parties even took notice.
The provisions of the bill and the references to the Family and Guardianship Code contained therein could be termed a parody of marriage and family.
The main ideas behind this bill can be summarized as follows:
-it defines a registered partnership as a partnership of two people of the same sex contracted before a registrar, just like a traditional marriage
– it proposes the same limitations preventing homosexuals from entering into a registered partnership as in traditional marriage, forbidding incestuous or polygamous relationships
– it extends the rights and obligations of spouses to the so-called domestic partnerships, such as the right to use a partner’s surname, the obligation to provide for the needs of the “family,” establishment of joint property, the right to inherit from each other, the obligation of caring for one’s partner’s children and paying alimony, tax and social security rights
– it allows a registered partnership to be dissolved by divorce, like traditional marriages
Adoption of this bill would require amendments to many other laws, particularly the Family and Guardianship Code which does not recognize any partnerships other than a union between one man and one woman. Therefore it would change the legal definition of marriage and even parents.
Sounding the Alert
The homosexual lobby did not expect the Catholic community to react. It supposed Catholics would be complacent, thinking no such bill could ever pass in Catholic Poland.
Thus we sought to alert the public and urged Catholics to mount a quick and decisive reaction to the proposed bill. On December 8, 2003, we placed a paid ad in the Rzeczpospolita (Poland’s largest and most influential daily newspaper), titled “Legalization of Same-sex Unions – a Challenge for Catholic Poland.” We highlighted the moral and social dangers associated with the legalization of such unions.
We also published this statement as a brochure which we sent to all the bishops and parishes in Poland – a total of 10,000 copies. We distributed the same brochure together with material on the psychological, social and medical consequences of homosexual practices to all members of both chambers of the Polish Parliament.
To educate our supporters and sympathizers about the attempts to legalize same-sex unions in other countries, we sponsored two lecturers: Dr. Nelson Fragelli of the French association, Droit de Naitre (Right to Birth) in February 2004 and Mr. John Horvat, Vice-President of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) in May.
Opposition to Marches
Undeterred by our campaign and encouraged by the passive attitude of some members of the church hierarchy, the homosexual lobby continued its activities. On May 4-9, homosexual activists in Krakow organized its “Days of Lesbian and Gay Culture.” The climax of the event was to be a parade of homosexuals from the city’s Main Square to Wawel Castle, the historic seat of the Polish kings. Adding insult to injury, the parade was set for the same day as the procession of St. Stanislaw, the city’s patron saint.
In face of such a blatant provocation, we appealed to the inhabitants of Krakow by mailing out 280,000 flyers, urging residents to send protest postcards to the city’s mayor and the rector of the nearby Jagiellonian University, where most of the events of the “Days of Lesbian and Gay Culture” were hosted. The reaction was impressive. Over 30,000 protest postcards flooded the town hall and university offices.
Nevertheless, the mayor chose to disregard the city residents’ opinion and authorized the May 7 parade. This caused a spontaneous protest/blockade to form at Wawel Castle, which prevented the parade from reaching its destination.
Undeterred by their defeat in Krakow, homosexual organizations tried to stage another parade in Warsaw on June 11, the day after the Feast of Corpus Christi. As a highlight activists planned to deliver a petition in support of the proposed civil unions bill to the Sejm Marshal (Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies).
Encouraged by our success in Krakow, we mailed 730,000 flyers to Warsaw residents urging them to send protests to the city’s mayor and the Sejm Marshal. Faced with widespread disapproval of the proposed event (the Sejm Marshal received over 10,000 protest postcards), Mayor Lech Kaczynski prohibited the march.
These two defeats were too much for the homosexual lobby and its supporting authorities to bear. On August 6, 2004, we received a letter from the Polish Post Office, refusing to distribute our protest flyers any longer.
The Post Office explained that their refusal was decided under pressure from Deputy Prime Minister Izabela Jaruga-Nowacka, the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Campaign Against Homophobia, the largest homosexual organization in Poland. In response, we protested to the Public Prosecutor’s Office claiming a willful restriction of our statutory rights. Additionally, we complained to the Office of Telecommunications and Post Regulation, the Competition and Consumer Protection Office and the Prime Minister’s office.
Knowing that the draft of the civil union bill had been approved by the Senate committees and would soon be debated on the Senate floor, we appealed to the heads of the state licensing bureaus, asking them to protest the bill. Since many clerks are Catholic, we demonstrated how the bill would force them to register homosexual unions, and thus violate their consciences. We mailed out over 2400 protest flyers. Four hundred eight clerks from 389 registry offices replied.
Fighting the Bill in the Senate
We forwarded the clerks’ protests to the Sejm Marshal and brought them to the attention of the marshal of the Senate. Despite the SLD’s dominant position in the Senate, the bill failed after a heated debate. It was then sent back to committee to be revised and amended.
Under the pressure of the homosexual lobby, the draft bill was put on the agenda for a third time. On December 3, 2004, without any debate, it was passed by the Senate with 38 votes for, 23 against and 15 abstentions.
With only three days notice on the vote, our association tried to influence the vote by publishing a list of the senators who had signed the draft bill in the newspapers Rzeczpospolita and Zycie. Unfortunately, both so-called independent dailies refused to publish the list. Our only recourse was prayer.
Looking for International Support
In the meantime, Polish homosexual organizations enlisted the support of the homosexual lobby in other EU countries and international organizations, causing the German government to express concern over the fate of Polish homosexual organizations. Germany’s Foreign Ministry then instructed its diplomatic mission in Poland to prepare a report on the situation of homosexuals in our country.
Similarly, the UN Human Rights Commission recommended that Poland introduce a statutory ban on discrimination on the grounds of gender, religious beliefs, ethnic origins and sexuality. They recommended the state make its officials particularly sensitive to the issue of discrimination against sexual minorities and impose regulations to prevent it in any form.
The conference, “Krakow and Nuremberg Together for Tolerance,” held in Krakow in January 2005, was intended to be a symbol of international support for the activities of homosexual organizations in Poland. The event spanned a few days and aimed at promoting homosexuality. It involved the joint participation of the municipal authorities of Krakow and Nuremburg.
We took decisive actions. We protested to the city’s mayor and the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Krakow. They responded with the telling answer that “democratic acceptance of homosexuality and civil unions has been increasingly becoming a generally binding law in the EU.”
Under pressure from the homosexual lobby, Krakow’s authorities allowed some homosexual organizations to hold one meeting in the townhall, although they officially distanced themselves from the event. After being refused for later meetings at the hall, the homosexual organizations tried desperately to meet at other representative venues, but their requests were met with a categorical refusal. One of the conference meetings was to be hosted at the seat of the Polish Community Association, whose goal is to enhance Poland’s links with countrymen living abroad. As a result of our intervention, the association’s authorities immediately withdrew from the agreement and the homosexual lobby had to content themselves with meetings held at their own venues.
Increasing Rejection of the Homosexual Agenda
The difficulties surrounding the homosexual marches in Krakow and Warsaw were repeated in Poznan. Despite protests from local residents and the city’s self-government, in November 2004, Poznan’s mayor authorized a gay pride march which ended in civil unrest. It became obvious that the homosexual organizations would face a hard battle. Catholic public opinion is decidedly against them.
Meanwhile, the “rights and privileges” obtained by homosexual activists in other EU countries made Polish activists both envious and depressed. Due to the decisive reaction of Catholics they are caught in a deadlock. The political situation in Poland also turned against them. The SLD, the main driving force behind the Senate bill legalizing same-sex unions, was involved in several corruption scandals which engulfed it in a deep crisis. This has severely divided the left. Moreover, the newly elected Speaker of the Sejm announced that he was not going to let any controversial laws, including the civil unions bill, to be put to a vote.
Catholic Vigilance in Face of Climate Change
Despite the shift towards a more family-friendly atmosphere in this changing political climate, our association did not stop its actions to mobilize public opinion against the homosexual law. We are aware of just how important this bill is for bringing about a cultural revolution in our country. We realize that the promoters of this revolution could use this new climate to promote complacency and put Catholic vigilance to sleep.
As a result of our “Defend Marriage and Family” campaign launched last February, the Speaker of the Sejm received over 120,000 protest letters against the planned legalization of same-sex unions. If we add 17,000 protest letters he received last year, nearly 140,000 protests have reached the legislative body.
At the same time we scheduled a lecture tour on the homosexual cultural revolution. We sought to make people aware of the homosexual threat and incite them to take action. At the beginning of March, we again invited John Horvat, Vice-President of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property to give lectures in the Polish Parliament, and the cities of Krakow and Gdansk, during which he spoke about the experiences of American Catholics fighting against the legalization of same-sex unions in the United States.
Throughout our campaign, we have been in steady contact with friendly members of the Polish Parliament. We have held regular meetings with them and to aid them in their struggles, supplied them with our materials, reports and publications.
More Marches Planned
Despite the unfavourable social climate in our country, homosexual organizations found encouragement and even financial support from the international homosexual lobby, Deputy Prime Minister Izabela Jaruga-Nowacka and secular newspapers such as the Gazeta Wyborcza (a large daily newspaper with an anti-Catholic bias). Empowered by this support, they began to organize homosexual events in Krakow and Warsaw climaxing in gay pride parades in the centers of the two cities.
The Krakow parade was slated for April 23, St. Wojciech’s Day (martyr and patron of Poland), while the Warsaw parade was to be staged on June 12. Media promotion of these two events was interrupted by the death of John Paul II. Due to the period of national mourning, the largest homosexual organizations withdrew from the planned parade in Krakow, causing several smaller organizations, supported by the Gazeta Wyborcza, to organize their own march. However, the city’s mayor, apparently remembering the aftermath of last year’s parade and keen to avoid a scandal, did not authorize the provocative and outrageous event.
The death of John Paul II also dealt a decisive blow to the bill legalizing same-sex unions. Towards the end of July, a group of friendly senators, out of respect to the memory of the late Pope and recalling his words condemning homosexual acts, wrote a letter to the speaker of the senate demanding that the civil unions bill be withdrawn immediately. The letter was signed by three SLD senators including one that had previously been among the bills most fervent advocates.
The signatories of the letter also lobbied their fellow parliamentarians to withdraw the bill from the legislative agenda. Moreover, in early May a draft resolution describing the proposed bill as a disgrace to the Polish Parliament was put before the Senate. After a fierce debate, the resolution lost by a narrow margin. Nevertheless, the Speaker of the Senate sent the already approved civil unions bill back to committee, thus depriving its supporters of any chance to see it placed on the agenda of the lower house during this session of Parliament.
Breaking the Law
In late May, homosexual activists announced that they had asked the Mayor of Warsaw for a permit to organize a so-called “Equality March” on June 12. Mayor Lech Kaczynski had publicly denounced the proposed homosexual parade even before his official decision not to authorize it. The secular media, which only weeks before had been “united in sorrow mourning the death of John Paul II,” immediately launched a savage attack on the municipal authorities, accusing the mayor of violating “constitutional rights.”
In face of these attacks, we once again decided to let the city’s residents voice their opinions. We launched another mail campaign that distributed over 50,000 protest cards decrying the “Equality March” and supporting city authorities. We also urged people to send protests to Professor Andrzej Zoll, the Polish Commissioner for Civil Rights Protection, who publicly demanded that Mayor Kaczynski explain his critical statement about the “Equality March.” Last year, this same Professor Andrzej Zoll was given the “Ambassador of Diversity” award by the EU Human Rights Commission, thus becoming an informal spokesman for homosexual organizations in Poland.
As a result of our action, Prof. Zoll received many fax messages and telephone calls demanding that he stop supporting the minority homosexual lobby and defend the constitutional rights of marriage and family. Despite reporters’ questions, Professor Zoll kept a strict silence about the homosexual parade.
Two days before the proposed date of the march, the city’s mayor, in line with previous declarations, officially prohibited the parade to ensure public safety and safeguard morality. Despite the lawful ban, leftist politicians and the secular media incited people to “civil disobedience,” asking them to join the march.
About 100 emboldened homosexual activists responded by staging an illegal march through the streets of Warsaw. They were joined by leading figures of the Polish Left, a handful of German MPs from a predominantly homosexual international group of the European Parliament and several representatives of homosexual organizations from other European countries. The illegality of the “Equality March” provoked great scandal since it should have been dispersed by the police.
Instead, due to the personal intervention of our pro-homosexual Minister of the Interior, the march enjoyed the protection of approximately 800 armed riot police. It became clear that the homosexual lobby would even break the law to promote their cause.
Meanwhile, opponents of the parade, who organized a few dozen pickets along its route, were brutally dispersed by the police. About 70 picketers were arrested and thirty of them were charged with “obstructing traffic.” Neither march organizers nor participants suffered any consequences.
After the parade was over, the media joyfully announced that “civil rights had been defended and democracy had triumphed.” The same media then labelled march opponents old-fashioned and homophobic. Our association was also the target of the media campaign led by the Gazeta Wyborcza.
Media Bias Denounced
The Gazeta Wyborcza, the main media promoter of the “Equality March,” has long supported the homosexual movement in Poland. Our research uncovered some disturbing information: quite often the paper publishes entire articles taken from homosexual sites on the internet or texts written by the leaders of homosexual organizations. Over the past two years, the Gazeta Wyborcza has published over 600 articles and news items presenting homosexuality as a positive phenomenon. The majority of these references appeared in the Krakow supplement to the Gazeta.
Our association disseminated this information to the people of Krakow. We mailed out 8,000 letters containing a leaflet with excerpts from some articles published in the Gazeta Wyborcza, demonstrating the paper’s approval of homosexual behaviour. Residents also received three protest-postcards addressed to the editor-in-chief of the Krakow supplement, asking him to stop his brazen promotion of homosexuality. We sent two thousand similar letters to many Krakow intellectuals, university professors, school headmasters, local government officials and representatives of various organizations.
The Polish people are polarized in face of this illegal activity and brazen promotion of homosexuality against the majority opinion.
This June, the homosexual lobby lost two votes in the Sejm. The first was for the candidacy of Prof. Andrzej Rzeplinski, head of the Polish branch of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, for the office of Polish Commissioner for Civil Rights Protection. Despite being the only candidate, Prof. Rzeplinski did not get the required number of votes because his publicly support of the illegal homosexual parade in Warsaw turned the MPs against him.
The homosexual lobby also lost a vote to transform the position of the Polish Government Commissioner for the Equal Status of Men and Women into a statutory office tasked with preventing so-called discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. Poland is the only EU country with no such office.
Almost two years ago, when our association launched its campaign against the attempts to legalize so-called civil unions, we were alone in our efforts. Today there are many associations, organizations, political parties and Catholic media involved in this struggle. There is also an ever-increasing number of ordinary Catholics, waiting for a clear voice of protest from our shepherds who remain, for the most part, silent on the extremely grave sin of same-sex “marriage” and its consequences for temporal society.