Polish region wants to remain ‘LGBT-free’ zone despite the risk of millions of EU funds

This week, a Polish regional council voted to remain an “LGBT-free zone” despite a warning from the European Union that it could lose funds.

Many local authorities in Poland have declared themselves free from the so-called “LGBT ideology” as gay rights have become a high-profile and deeply contentious issue in this predominantly Catholic country under a conservative nationalist regime.

This has put Poland on a collision course with the European Commission, which says the areas may violate EU law on non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

The southern region of Malopolska said it had received a warning letter saying it could lose more than € 2.5 billion in EU funds unless it revokes the statement made in 2019 by mid- September.

On Thursday, the regional assembly voted on an opposition motion to revoke the resolution. But it was rejected by party representatives.

“We cannot just deny what was said in 2019,” said board chairman Jan Duda, who is also the father of Polish President Andrzej Duda.

“We have to meet and rewrite this statement, because the one from 2019 has been misunderstood.”

Some religious conservatives in Poland say they have nothing against the gay community, but they oppose what they call “LGBT ideology,” which they say poses a threat to Christian values.

“LGBT-free zones” seek to ban the promotion of homosexuality and other minority gender identities, especially in schools.

“Once again, the hatred and anger of the PiS [the right-wing national-conservative political party in Poland] turned out to be more important than the good of the citizens, and they are the ones who will suffer the most from this decision, “said Robert Biedron, left-wing member of the European Parliament and most prominent openly gay politician in Poland.

The Polish government denies having laws that discriminate against people on the basis of their sexual orientation.

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