Do Lithuanian and Polish Political Leaders Seek to Find a Common Ground through Homophobia?

Office of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, led by PM Saulius Skvernelis, has prepared a draft resolution proposing Lithuanian President to honour leader of the Polish ruling party “Law and Justice” Jaroslaw Kaczynski, infamous for is anti-LGBT rhetoric, with one of the highest state decorations of the Lithuanian Republic. Last word regarding the decision to award a controversial political personality belongs to the Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda.

During his election campaign, Jaroslaw Kaczynski was unequivocal in terms of his stance against LGBT rights equality. In August, 2019 politician said he believed that marches for LGBT equality in Poland should be “restricted” due to their incompatibility with the values of “Polish culture” and “Polish church”.

According to the Executive Director of the National LGBT rights organization LGL Vladimir Simonko awards of such a level should be presented to people with an impeccable reputation:  “But if that person incites hatred towards one social group, one needs to think ten times whether it’s the right time to do that. It’s a hasty wish to improve relations with Poland at the expense of one or another social group. I am offended that a person who is consistently trying to do away with the LGBT community is deemed worthy of a top award. It’s like a spit in the face,” Mr. Simonko said.

Vyacheslav Melnyk, Executive Director of the Campaign Against Homophobia in Warsaw commented to the National LGBT rights organization LGL that during the 2019 parliamentary election campaign Jaroslaw Kaczynski shamelessly used hate speech towards LGBTI people in Poland.

“As a result, it caused a pogrom-like atmosphere during the Pride March in Bialystok and even an unsuccessful bomb attack attempt during the March of Equality in Lublin. It goes without saying that speaking about restricting a right to peaceful demonstration goes against any democratic standards in the European Union member state. It is sad to hear that there are democratic states, which may honor politicians, who ruthlessly use hate speech to gain political points,” said Mr. Melnyk.

National LGBT rights organization LGL condemns the draft resolution and invites civil society to actively express its opinion on this important issue.