On Wednesday, the European Parliament will debate a resolution that would declare the 27 member countries of the European Union a “zone of freedom” for LGBT people.
The Associated Press reports that the motion comes largely as a response to communities in Poland, a member of the EU, who adopt symbolic resolutions declaring themselves free from what conservative politicians call “LGBT ideology.” The towns say they are upholding their Catholic values, but LGBT activists respond that these resolutions are discriminatory and designed to make the gay community feel unwelcome.
The resolution was taken by the EU’s multi-party group, the LGBTI Intergroup, which said it has enough support to pass the resolution. The measure will also reportedly address the issues faced by gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer people in the EU.
Liesje Schreinemacher, a Dutch lawmaker and vice president of the LGBTI Intergroup, told the AP that the resolution was roughly timed to mark the second anniversary of the first Polish community to pass an anti-LGBT resolution.
“We wanted to send a strong signal in Poland that we consider the whole of Europe to be a zone of LGBTI freedom,” said Schreinemacher. “But all European countries have work to do.”
The AP reports that Poland’s local anti-LGBT resolutions have damaged its international image, as well as the finances of local communities, with the EU and a non-member country, Norway, blocking funds due to what they see as discriminatory policies.
In September last year, ambassadors from 50 countries, including the United States, signed an open letter questioning the Polish government’s commitment to LGBT rights due to concerns about the crackdown by President Andrzej Duda’s administration.
“We pay tribute to the hard work of LGBTI and other communities in Poland and around the world, as well as the work of all those seeking to guarantee the human rights of LGBTI and other people from communities facing similar challenges, and to end the discrimination. particularly on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, ”the letter said.
At the time, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki denied that LGBT people in Poland were being restricted or threatened, saying that tolerance was part of “Polish DNA.”
According to a ranking by ILGA-Europe, an LGBT advocacy group, Poland currently ranks 42nd out of 49 European countries in terms of laws that respect the human rights of LGBT people.