Ambassador: “Poland on wrong side of history” on LGBTI rights

US Ambassador to Poland Georgette Mosbacher has defended the letter in support of LGBT rights which she signed along with 49 other ambassadors to Poland. She argued that Poland was “on the wrong side of history” over LGBTI rights and that “human rights are not an ideology, they are universal.”

In an interview with portal wp.pl Ms Mosbacher strongly defended the letter by 50 ambassadors in defence of the LGBTI community’s rights in Poland.

The ambassador stressed that the USA stands firm for the equality of all peoples and respects the fact that Poland is a Catholic country. However, she says that recent rhetoric towards sexual minorities alienates people against Poland. “You must know that in terms of LGBTI rights you are on the wrong side of history.”

According to the US ambassador “this also translates into specific business decisions”. She argued that she was hearing from entrepreneurs who may not want to invest in a country where their employees might not be respected. She also felt that the issue could even affect future decisions about military engagement in Poland.

Ms Mosbacher added that “creating LGBTI-free zones” does not help build Poland’s reputation. Taken to task over the fact that there are no such zones, only local resolutions on a Family Charter that include reference to LGBT ideology free zones in relation to LGBT sex education in schools and that they have no legal standing she responded. “Sometimes symbols say more than deeds or words. I know that this is not entirely fair, but through such “symbols” Poland has acquired the image of a state that does not respect people of different sexual orientation” she concluded.

The ambassador denied charges that she was interfering in the internal politics of Poland. She argued that human rights are neither politics nor ideology and that on this issue “there are no compromises.”

She pointed to the consensus in the US on the matter:

“Joe Biden recently referred to “LGBTI free zones” on Twitter, reminding that there is no place for them anywhere in the world. On this one issue, the Democratic and Republican parties are in agreement with each other. It is worth taking this into account”, she concluded.

The letter by the 50 ambassadors voiced support for LGBTI rights. It did not refer to any specific legislation, incidents, nor the “LGBTI free zones” referred to in the speech by EC President Ursula von der Leyen and latched on to by Joe Biden. The letter was signed by most, though not all ambassadors of EU member states, the UK, South Africa and Venezuela.

Comment:

The Polish MFA has made it clear that Poland has no problem with the rights of all individuals to be equal before the law. However, the country’s constitution has a clear definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman and that parents have a right to have their children educated in accordance with their values and beliefs.

There are no LGBTI free zones in Poland. But it is true that the identity politics pursued by both the left and right have led to heated exchanges. LGBTI activists want to pressure Poland into changing its constitution and reduce the influence of the Church. The politicians of the right want to stop them.

It is debatable if pursuing this issue will be helpful to Poland. As the ambassador pointed out some in the business community may take a jaundiced view of Poland and allies of Poland such as the USA and the UK, not to mention the EU, support LGBTI rights. Being out on a limb may not be helpful to the country.

However, many Poles will not appreciate being told they are on the “wrong side of history”. That language was used in the past by people calling Poland a ‘misunderstanding on the map of Europe” and later during the era of the Cold War. As long as there is no outright discrimination against people on the grounds of gender, religion or ideology there is no need for such heavy artillery. And it is for Poland internally to decide what its laws on marriage and parental rights in educating their children should be.


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