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Poland's First Openly Gay Lawmaker Attacked Following Pride Parade in Warsaw

Poland
(images of anti-gay nationalists and Warsaw's equality parade here)

Poland's first openly gay MP Robert Biedron was attacked following a Gay Pride parade on Saturday in Warsaw, Polskie Radio reports:

BiedronBiedron said that the attack took place in a cafe in central Warsaw where the MP was relaxing with a group of friends following the march.

“An aggressive man insulted us, using homophobic statements. He began to choke one of my friends and punched him in the face. “When he recognized me he spat in my face, raised his fists and and kicked me in the stomach,” the MP said.

According to Biedron, the assailant then ran away but was arrested shortly afterwards. Meanwhile, Biedron noted that the march itself had been considerably less problematic this year. The MP stressed that there were no signs of stones or bottles being thrown at marchers on Saturday, in contrast to some previous occasions.

Biedron tweeted shortly after the attack:

"I'm sick of homophobia. I was just beaten by a homophobe in the center of Warsaw. Police quickly caught him. Evening at the police station."

Biedron


Lech Walesa Won't Face Hate Crime Charge for Anti-Gay Remarks

Former Polish President Lech Walesa won't be charged with a hate crime for saying gay lawmakers have no right to sit on the front benches in Parliament, calling them a minority who should be "behind a wall."

WalesaThe AP reports:

[Walesa's remarks] prompted Ryszard Nowak, director of the National Committee for the Defense Against Sects and Violence, to file a complaint with prosecutors in Gdansk, Walesa’s hometown. He said Walesa was promoting the hatred of a sexual minority.

But Renata Klonowska, head of the regional prosecutor’s office in Gdansk, said Wednesday that investigators found Walesa did not commit a crime under Polish law.

Walesa may, however, lose the street named for him in San Francisco.


Poland: In Protest of Lech Walesa, Gay and Trans Lawmakers Take Front Bench in Parliament - PHOTO

Polish_parliament

Poland's first gay lawmaker Robert Biedron (right) and first transgender lawmaker Anna Grodzka took seats in the front bench of Parliament today as a protest of Lech Walesa's remarks earlier this week that gays have no right to sit there, and should even be kept "behind a wall".

The Guardian:

Both are members of the progressive Palikot's Movement party, and party leader Janusz Palikot arranged for the two to sit in, relinquishing his own seat to Biedron.

"Lech Walesa is an important symbol for us all and for the whole world," Biedron told the Associated Press before attending the session. "I respect him and I'd rather he used other words – words of acceptance and of respect for other people."

...The first row in the semi-circular lower chamber, or Sejm, is reserved for party leaders and prominent lawmakers. Biedron and Grodzka – who have been in parliament since 2011 – usually sit in the third row.

Walesa said this week he would not be apologizing for his remarks.

"I will not apologize to anyone," the former president said in an interview Monday. "All I said (was) that minorities, which I respect, should not have the right to impose their views on the majority. I think most of Poland is behind me."


Lech Walesa on Anti-Gay Remarks: 'I Will Not Apologize to Anyone'

Former Polish President and Nobel Peace Pize winner Lech Walesa stands by his remarks earlier this week that gays should be "behind a wall", CNN reports:

WalesaA devout Catholic and father of eight children, Walesa now says he has nothing to apologize for despite a mountain of criticism heaped upon a man who was once venerated as a champion of Polish liberty. He stressed he did not "feel homophobic."

"I will not apologize to anyone," the former president said in an interview Monday. "All I said (was) that minorities, which I respect, should not have the right to impose their views on the majority. I think most of Poland is behind me."

Since his comments went nationwide, Walesa has been on the receiving end of furious criticism.

"Why does Lech want me to sit in the back row?" asked Robert Biedron, a member of parliament from the opposition Palikot Movement and Poland's first openly gay politician. "If we accept the rules proposed by Lech Walesa then where would blacks sit? They are also a minority. And what about the disabled?"


Poland's Gay and Trans Lawmakers Moved to Front Bench in Parliament After Lech Walesa's Remarks That They Should Sit in Back

Biedron_grodzka

Poland's first gay lawmaker Robert Biedron and first transgender lawmaker Anna Grodzka have been moved to Parliament's front bench following a firestorm of outrage over Nobel Prize Winner Lech Walesa's remarks this week that gays have no right to sit there, and should even be kept "behind a wall".

The AP reports: Walesa

Janusz Palikot, the leader of progressive party Palikot's Movement, reacted by promoting the party's gay lawmaker, Robert Biedron, and transgender lawmaker, Anna Grodzka, to the front row for a three-day session starting Wednesday. In Poland's Parliament, the front row, which is closest to the Speaker and gets the most TV attention, is generally for party leaders and senior lawmakers. The Cabinet sits in a separate section.

Palikot said he will also seek a resolution asking Walesa to "change his manner of speaking."

Walesa has declined an invitation to meet with Biedron.

Walesa's son said he was shocked by his father's words, which "should not have been said."

Previously...
Nobel Peace Prize Winner Lech Walesa Wants Gays 'Behind A Wall' [tlrd]


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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