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Nobel Peace Prize Winner Lech Walesa Wants Gays 'Behind A Wall'

LechWalesaHas Lech Walesa completely tarnished his image as a peacemaker?

Walesa, the union organizer who became Poland's first democratic president in 1989, shocked fans and foes alike by saying last week that gay people should basically stop trying to be involved in the democratic process and go back to the proverbial kitchen, or, to be more precise, "behind a wall," especially in Parliament, because "a minority should not impose itself on the majority."

From ABC News:

Walesa said in a television interview on Friday that he believes gays have no right to sit on the front benches in Parliament and, if represented at all, should sit in the back, "and even behind a wall."

"They have to know that they are a minority and must adjust to smaller things. And not rise to the greatest heights, the greatest hours, the greatest provocations, spoiling things for the others and taking (what they want) from the majority," he told the private broadcaster TVN during a discussion of gay rights.

"I don't agree to this and I will never agree to it."

"A minority should not impose itself on the majority," Walesa said.

Obviously many people are outraged over the Nobel Peace prize winner's remarks, but the most concise criticism may come from liberal Polish politician Jerzy Wenderlich, "It was the statement of a troglodyte."

"From a human point of view his language was appalling," Wenderlich said of the devote Catholic's comments. "Now nobody in their right mind will invite Lech Walesa as a moral authority, knowing what he said."

But most people also know that Walesa's labor past doesn't mean he's progressive. He did, after all, supported Mitt Romney during the last election, and was pretty chummy with Ronald Reagan, who was of course no friend of friends of Dorothy.

(Image via Christofer C. Dierdorff.)

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  1. Alas, perhaps everyone outlives his or her usefulness.

    Posted by: TJ Parker | Mar 3, 2013 8:21:00 AM

  2. ...insert Polish joke HERE.

    Posted by: Wavin' Dave | Mar 3, 2013 8:37:53 AM

  3. Hey, Lech, ya know the Nobel guys can revoke that prize.

    Another perfect example of an oppressed person turning into an oppressor.

    Posted by: johnny | Mar 3, 2013 8:38:25 AM

  4. Winning the Noble Prize doesn't make you infallible - paging Yasser Arafat!

    Posted by: Bill | Mar 3, 2013 8:41:57 AM

  5. Heavy right-wing Catholicism in Poland. Religion was suppressed under Communism, so it came back in full force after communism fell and a pole was elected pope. Walesa and JP2 were linked in people's minds in a nationalism saturated with religion. Many in Poland are trying to resist this now. A generation has come and gone. Keep resisting, Poland.

    Posted by: matt | Mar 3, 2013 8:46:20 AM

  6. He's always been a phobe

    Posted by: rick scatorum | Mar 3, 2013 8:58:36 AM

  7. It would be fun under other circumstances, to watch a world figure piss all over himself and his reputation, and Walesa is arguably the latest in Polish jokes. But he looks like such a sad man, and may be suffering from some form of dementia. Also, as pointed out by others, the Nobel Peace Prize doesn't convey sainthood and not all recipients are worthy.

    Posted by: Jerry | Mar 3, 2013 9:02:56 AM

  8. It's generational, too. He's from a different time. This is not surprising at all.

    Posted by: Geoff | Mar 3, 2013 9:09:51 AM

  9. Garden-variety retrograde ignorance. You may be sure he believes he doesn't know any gay people personally.

    Posted by: DannyEastVillage | Mar 3, 2013 9:11:56 AM

  10. also looks like he drinks too much.

    Posted by: DannyEastVillage | Mar 3, 2013 9:12:33 AM

  11. I betcha million zillion dollars he thinks gay = pedophilia.

    Posted by: DannyEastVillage | Mar 3, 2013 9:13:59 AM

  12. And Henry Kissinger ( war criminal) won that prize too !

    But still they all fear "the gay"......they all have that subliminal crack in the solidity of their sexuality, that nagging unease that their manhood could be questioned if they were tolerant of gays or if they were caught looking too keenly at a beautiful man.
    Still they all live in fear.

    And Walesa's beloved Catholic Church supports him all the way.....get rid of the "objectively disordered" the New York Times quotes the Pope again this morning. Yeah but them behind a wall, or behind wire, or in a camp.

    Shame on you Poland for tolerating this weasel of a man.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Mar 3, 2013 9:17:54 AM

  13. Despite the '70s clone mustache and his blue-collar Village People persona, he's straight with 8 kids. He's the Brian Brown of Poland.

    Posted by: matt | Mar 3, 2013 9:18:58 AM


    Have not heard of the use of "phobe" before !!!!
    I love it and will use it.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Mar 3, 2013 9:19:11 AM

  15. This is shocking, and actually seems only peripherally anti-gay. Sure the topic at hand was gays, but listen to his response. He never says anything about gays being immoral, sinners, icky or the usual other issues homophobes raise. All he says is we're a minority. And because we're a minority, we shouldn't sit at the front of the table, should be behind a wall, shouldn't aim for the top of society etc. Considering Poland's Jewish minority was put behind walls and then liquidated just a couple of generations ago, this fascist approach to civil rights and democracy is simply appalling.

    Posted by: Brian | Mar 3, 2013 9:20:03 AM

  16. He shouldn't be allowed to pose in front of the UN logo. That photo should be burned.

    Posted by: Paul R | Mar 3, 2013 9:27:46 AM

  17. Should be "devout Catholic," not devote.

    Posted by: Ronny | Mar 3, 2013 9:28:03 AM

  18. "It was the statement of a troglodyte."

    Posted by: mike | Mar 3, 2013 9:42:55 AM


    Posted by: kodiak | Mar 3, 2013 9:51:57 AM

  20. That's Straight Privilege for you: they think their privileges are deserved, when actually it's socially constructed and completely artificial. (Sarah Schulman, "Ties That Bind, Familial Homophobia and Its Consequences"). When the majority is entirely wrong about the minority, they must be made to see the truth and accept it (just like we had to).

    Posted by: Christophe | Mar 3, 2013 10:19:32 AM

  21. It's sad, really, how often people reknowned and revered for fighting for rights for one group end up working just as hard against rights for some other groups. Sort of an "I got mine, screw all you" mentality. Sad.

    BUT -- and this is a big BUT -- Polish jokes are out of line. Always.

    Posted by: K in VA | Mar 3, 2013 10:19:41 AM

  22. I can't see how gay rights interfere with anyone else, especially how they impose on any majority. One possible example: Businesses and governments will have to afford benefits for gay partners, spouses and children. But I see denying these benefits as a kind of tax or fine on gay people.

    Imagine if Lech Walesa said this about disabled people. This seems like a grasp at rationalizing a bias that is no longer tenable among civilized people. As for the religion copout: If you have seen gay families and still think your god ever meant to prohibit them, then you have a demonic religion.

    Posted by: Kyle | Mar 3, 2013 10:21:01 AM

  23. I don't think "impose" is the word, he is very biased by their personal views, the word is consensus, he's not honest

    Posted by: Mark | Mar 3, 2013 10:33:21 AM

  24. No surprise. He was John Paul II's boy and we know what a liberal he was. Both Lech & JP II fought Communism, not because it was authoritarian, but because they wanted their version of authoritarianism to be in charge.

    Posted by: andrew | Mar 3, 2013 10:39:19 AM

  25. Lech Walesa and John Paul II - two peas in a pod. Both first class homophobes.

    Posted by: john patrick | Mar 3, 2013 10:41:20 AM

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