Poland’s highest administrative court has ruled that resolutions passed by local authorities declaring themselves free from “LGBT ideology” were rightly overturned by lower courts. In the first legally binding decisions of its kind, she concluded that the resolutions “violated the dignity” of LGBT people.
In 2019, almost 100 local authorities in Poland, most under the control of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, passed anti-LGBT resolutions or “Family Charters” pledging to protect the traditional family model .
However, the then Polish Commissioner for Human Rights, Adam Bodnar, challenged a number of resolutions in court, arguing that they violate the rights of LGBT people in a way that is contrary to Polish and European law. . A series of lower court rulings upheld his arguments and overturned the resolutions.
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But those decisions have in turn been challenged, with appeals being made to the Supreme Administrative Court (NSA), which is the court of last resort for administrative matters. Yesterday, the NSA dismissed four such challenges.
In the first, the authorities of the village of Serniki had appealed the cancellation of their resolution, which declared the area “free from LGBT ideology” and pledged to fight against “homopropaganda” and the “sexualization of children”. Their case was supported by the prosecutor’s office and the conservative legal group Ordo Iuris.
But the NSA ruled that the trial court correctly found that the “resolution violates the dignity, honor and reputation, as well as the privacy, of a specific group of residents…who identify as LGBT,” Judge Małgorzata Masternak-Kubiak said. in the justification for the decision, quoted by the Polish News Agency (PAP).
Later the same day, the court issued three similar decisions, rejecting appeals against the cancellation of anti-LGBT resolutions in Klwów, Istebna and Osiek. Together, the four cases are the first legally binding final rulings overturning such resolutions.
Pierwsze uchylenie samorządowej uchwały anty-#LGBT jest już prawomocne.NSA oddalił skargę kasacyjną prokuratury, gminy i Ordo Iuris na unieważnienie w 2020 r. przez WSA w Lublinie takiej uchwały Rady Gminy w Sernikach.O utrzymanie tego wyroku wnosił #RPO.https://t.co/gK8IFabI97
— Biuro Rzecznika Praw Obywatelskich (@BiuroRPO) June 28, 2022
In the cases of the other five resolutions challenged by the Commissioner for Human Rights, the provincial administrative courts initially dismissed the complaints, arguing that the resolutions did not concern matters of public administration and therefore fell outside the jurisdiction of the administrative courts.
But after the commissioner appealed those rulings, the NSA sent all those cases back for reconsideration by the respective provincial courts, which upon reconsideration invalidated the resolutions.
Defenders of the resolutions say they do not discriminate against individuals, but simply defend traditional values and express their opposition to an “ideology”. However, critics argue that such an ideology does not exist and say the resolutions exclude non-heteronormative residents from public life.
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Main photo credit: Krzysztof Cwik / Agencja Wyborcza.pl
Alicja Ptak is an editor at Notes from Poland and a multimedia journalist. She previously worked for Reuters.