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Polish municipalities to sue LGBT activists over ‘Atlas of Hate’

Warsaw, Poland – Several Polish municipalities which have been included on an “Atlas of Hate” for adopting resolutions that critics say discriminate against LGBT people say they will sue the three activists behind it for defamation.

The map created by the activists and widely picked up online and by the media shows that “a third of Poland” has adopted resolutions which they say are either “against LGBT ideology”, “pro-family” or “discriminatory” against LGBT people.

According to the Polish NGO Kampania Przeciw Homofobii (Campaign Against Homophobia), who will provide legal support for the three activists, the lawsuit is “nothing less than an attempt to censor the actions of human rights activists”. They claim that the conservative legal organisation Ordo Iuris “manipulated the facts and convinced the local authorities” to initiate legal proceedings against what they call the “heroic trio”.

While these resolutions, based on the the controversial “Charter of Family Rights” written by Ordo Iuris, do not explicitly refer to LGBT people directly, they call on municipalities to promote and protect the “traditional family” when it comes to policies, school activities and the distribution of public funds.

Ordo Iuris claim these “pro-family” resolutions calls for the protection of the family and are in line with the Polish Constitution. In a press statement released on Tuesday, Ordo Iuris argue that the inclusion of the municipalities in question on the “Atlas of Hate” violates “the reputation of local government units that have decided to adopt resolutions which protect the constitutional rights of families”.

Ordo Iuris claims “the presentation of the “Atlas of hate” resulted in domestic and foreign publications citing false information about local governments branded in the atlas, depicting them as places of hatred and discrimination, or “LGBT-free zones”.

“LGBT-free zone” stickers distributed last year by a Polish conservative newspaper, Gazeta Polska.

When asked about the lawsuit on local media, Jakub Gawron, one of the three authors of the map, reiterated his claim that the Charter was discriminatory against LGBT people, arguing that implementing it would imply “the symbolic exclusion of non-heteronormative people from the public space”.

Following the release of his “Atlas of Hate”, Jakub Gawron told Hyperallergic that the project aims to “alert public opinion to threats coming from Christian fundamentalists” in Poland and elsewhere.

“We wanted to summarize the local governments’ resolutions in a simple and accessible form,” he added. “The resolutions are dispersed, and too difficult to track by journalists who usually have too little time for that.”

Last month, the French town of Saint-Jean-de-Braye broke its partnership with its sister city of Tuchów last week after the latter adopting resolutions. “France is committed to combating human rights violations based on sexual orientation”, stated the French municipality. “We cannot accept that the ties that unite our two cities by a twinning oath be tainted. We condemn the position taken by our twin city of Tuchów”.

Recent rankings have confirmed that LGBT rights are backsliding in Poland and elsewhere in Central Europe.

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