The European Court of Human Rights ruled yesterday that current Polish president Lech Kaczynski violated the law when he tried to ban 2005’s Warsaw Gay Pride. Acting as Warsaw’s mayor, the fierce homophobe – and rumored homosexual – refused to allow gay men and women to show their pride, thus sparking a two-year legal battle.
In their statement, the court ruled:
The positive obligation of a State to secure genuine and effective respect for freedom of association and assembly was of particular importance to those with unpopular views or belonging to minorities, because they were more vulnerable to victimisation.
They found Kaczynski and his staff guilty of three charges: violating freedom of assembly and violating the right to an effective remedy. Kaczynski did not release a statement. Secretary of State Maciej Lopinski, however, mentioned that the president may take further action.
Meanwhile, a number of gay activists came out to praise the legal victory. Campaign Against Homophobia president Robert Bierdon remarked:
It’s a very important step towards equality for gay and lesbian people in Poland, and I think also in several other countries in central and eastern Europe.
Britain’s West Midlands MEP Michael Cashman also foresaw great things:
This ruling is first and foremost the victory of courage; it took courage for Polish LGBT activists to decide to fight this decision right through to Strasbourg.
Their actions were rewarded, and in doing so have become shining examples of what it is to be a human rights defender in 21st century Europe.
Certainly a day of celebration in Poland, where it’s – coincidentally enough – Constitution Day.
MEP Praises Polish Gay Activists in Wake of Euro Court Ruling [UK Gay News]
Kaczynski’s Ban of Warsaw Gay Pride in 2005 Violated Euro Human Rights – Court [UK Gay News]