Polish parliament rejects efforts to legalize gay unions
Poland’s parliament defeated draft laws on Friday that would have given limited legal rights to homosexual couples, a setback for liberals trying to challenge conservative moral attitudes in the devoutly Catholic country.
Poland has been grappling with issues such as gay rights, abortion, legalization of soft drugs and the role of the church in public life as younger Poles seeking a more secular society clash with a deeply religious older generation.
The lower house of parliament rejected three bills that would have legalized civil unions, including narrowly defeating one proposed by a member of the ruling Civic Platform that would have given limited rights to unmarried partners, including ability to inherit property.
The motion to prevent the Civic Platform bill from going to committees for further work was backed by 228 deputies, with 211 against.
Prime Minister Donald Tusk spoke out in favor of the reform, but 46 members of his own party, including Justice Minister Jaroslaw Gowin, sided with the conservative opposition and voted against all three bills on their first reading.
“You can’t question the existence of such people (living in homosexual partnerships) and you can’t argue against the people who decide to live in such way,” Tusk told the parliament before the votes.
Robert Biedron, Poland’s first openly gay deputy who had proposed the most comprehensive of the three rejected bills, vowed to continue leading the efforts to give legal rights to unmarried partners, both same-sex and heterosexual.