Open letter to Lech Wałęsa on disparaging comments about LGBT people

Members of the European Parliament wrote today to former Polish President Lech Wałęsa, protesting earlier remarks about LGBT people. A Nobel Peace Prize winner and former Solidarność leader, Mr Wałęsa said on Polish TV that homosexual lawmakers had no right to sit on parliament front benches, and should even sit “behind a wall”. The Presidents of the European Parliament’s LGBT Intergroup reacted in an open letter.

To: Lech Wałęsa, Former President of the Republic of Poland

Concerns: Disparaging comments about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people

Brussels, 15th March 2013

European Parliament logo

Mr President, Szanowny Panie Prezydencie,

We were appalled to read about the disparaging comments you made last week on TVN about homosexuals. As lawmakers, we were personally shocked to hear a Nobel Prize winner declare that homosexual members of parliament should “sit behind the wall”.

Decent women and men in Poland will disagree, and we hope you may reconsider these prejudiced assertions. They insult not only minorities but democracy itself, and sit at odds with your record as an ardent defender of democracy, considering all that Poland, and indeed Europe, owes you.

This is a matter of personal prejudice rather than generational opinion. Your former Solidarność colleague, Jerzy Buzek, declared as President of the European Parliament on the International Day Against Homophobia that “homophobia is deplorable because it aims to denigrate people and deprive them of these rights on the basis of their sexual orientation.”

He added: “let us make sure that future generations of Europeans grow accustomed to a culture of openness, non-discrimination and tolerance.”

We have no doubt these wiser words will serve as a model for Poland.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Cashman MEP, Co-president
Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-president
Sophie in ‘t Veld MEP, Vice-president
Raül Romeva i Rueda MEP, Vice-president
Sirpa Pietikäinen MEP, Vice-president
Dennis de Jong MEP, Vice-president

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