Gay Rights | Poland

International Court Rules In Favor Of Gay Polish Man

Poland  The Polish government is most definitely not known for their pro-gay stances, so it's encouraging to see The European Court of Human Rights step in and protect the rights of people in a country where the majority of its citizens disapprove of homosexuality. This is what the court ruled:

"Poland may not discriminate against homosexual couples, in spite of a clause in the its constitution stating that marriage is “a union of a man and a woman”, the European Court of Human Rights ruled in Strasbourg.

The court found, in a unanimous ruling released on Monday, in favour of Piotr Kozak, whose partner died in 1998, and who had his request to continue lining in their municipal flat in the western city of Szczecin turned down, in spite of a provision in Polish law allowing a “person who has lived in de facto cohabitation with the tenant” to succeed to the tenancy."

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  1. Very surprising, considering that Poland is a VERY Catholic country. I can't help but think that the panties of a certain Nazi currently residing in Italy are all tied up in a wad. Just one more chip out of the golden gates of the Vatican. Several more and it will all come crumbling down.

    Meanwhile, those pesky Catholic Bishops are at it again; trying to influence federal policy in our government. I'm surprised that the MSM hasn't had the balls to really report on this story. Are they afraid of being called "anti-religious" when this is clearly a violation of church and state?

    Posted by: Keith | Mar 5, 2010 9:54:59 AM

  2. I don't understand what this means. Does this apply to all countries participating in the court? Or only to Poland?

    Posted by: Tony | Mar 5, 2010 10:11:14 AM

  3. Grammar Police says:

    1. The first paragraph should read "the majority of its citizens" with an "its" not "it's". Don't use an apostrophe when "it" is possessing something, because "it's" is always short for "it is"; "the majority of it is citizens" doesn't make sense.

    2. The second paragraph reads, "the its constitution". I could not access the linked page to confirm whether this typo was in the original text. The usage of "its" here is correct, however.

    Great Towleroad article as usual, otherwise.



    Posted by: Grammar Police | Mar 5, 2010 10:57:12 AM

  4. @Tony: This applies to the case mentioned, though it often sets a precedent for the entire country (because they could go to the European court and pretty much obtain the same thing).

    The other European countries that are also part of the EU court are able to use the ruling as jurisprudence ("case law") in their own cases, though normally it needs a ruling of a national court that cites this specific jurisprudence for the consequences to take effect elsewhere in the EU.

    Posted by: EU ruler | Mar 5, 2010 11:04:37 AM

  5. @Tony: All Country participating in the court.

    But this judgement isn't that ground breaking, the same case happened with Austria in Karner v. Austria. Where a case very similar happened with the same remedy. The court only enforce it's jurisprudence here.

    Although the court reminded that the protection of traditional family is a valid reason it had to be ballenced with Article 14. Here's the important quote of the judgement in my opinion :

    98. It remains for the Court to determine whether the Polish authorities can be said to have given “objective and reasonable justification” for the impugned distinction in law in respect of same- and different-sex partners, that is to say whether this measure pursued a “legitimate aim” and maintained “reasonable proportionality between the means employed and the aim sought to be realised” (see paragraph 91 above).
    It emerges from the grounds given by the Regional Court that the essential objective of the difference in treatment was to ensure the protection of the family founded on a “union of a man and a woman”, as stipulated in Article 18 of the Polish Constitution (see paragraphs 38 and 44 above). The Court accepts that protection of the family in the traditional sense is, in principle, a weighty and legitimate reason which might justify a difference in treatment (see Karner, cited above, § 40, with further references).
    However, in pursuance of that aim a broad variety of measures might be implemented by the State (ibid). Also, given that the Convention is a living instrument, to be interpreted in the light of present-day conditions (see E.B. cited above, § 92), the State, in its choice of means designed to protect the family and secure, as required by Article 8, respect for family life must necessarily take into account developments in society and changes in the perception of social, civil-status and relational issues, including the fact that there is not just one way or one choice in the sphere of leading and living one's family or private life.
    99. Striking a balance between the protection of the traditional family and the Convention rights of sexual minorities is, by the nature of things, a difficult and delicate exercise, which may require the State to reconcile conflicting views and interests perceived by the parties concerned as being in fundamental opposition. Nevertheless, having regard to the State's narrow margin of appreciation in adopting measures that result in a difference based on sexual orientation (see paragraph 92 above), a blanket exclusion of persons living in a homosexual relationship from succession to a tenancy cannot be accepted by the Court as necessary for the protection of the family viewed in its traditional sense (see Karner, cited above, § 41). Nor have any convincing or compelling reasons been advanced by the Polish Government to justify the distinction in treatment of heterosexual and homosexual partners at the material time. Moreover, the fact that the provision which shortly afterwards replaced section 8(1) removed the difference between “marital” and other forms of cohabitation (see paragraphs 40-41 above) confirms that no such reasons were found to maintain the previous regulation.
    In view of the foregoing, the Court finds that the Polish authorities, in rejecting the applicant's claim on grounds related to the homosexual nature of his relationship with T.B. failed to maintain a reasonable relationship of proportionality between the aim sought and the means employed. The impugned distinction was not, therefore, compatible with the standards under the Convention.
    The Court accordingly rejects the Government's objection regarding the applicant's victim status and holds that there has been a violation of Article 14 taken in conjunction with Article 8 of the Convention.

    P.S. The court while doing this finding of fact and condemn Poland, absolutely no damage were awarded since the applicant wasn't able to justify it.

    Posted by: Esurnir | Mar 5, 2010 11:14:32 AM

  6. Thanks for fixing the first aforementioned "its" issue.



    Posted by: Grammar Police | Mar 5, 2010 11:43:09 PM

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