Former Polish president Lech Walesa cleared of 'hate crime' allegations over gay comments
GDANSK, Poland, March 15, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Prosecutors have confirmed that no charges are pending against former Polish president and leader of the Solidarity movement Lech Walesa, following a complaint alleging that he promoted hatred against homosexuals.
While giving his views during a TVN24 interview on recent debates in parliament about legalizing civil partnerships for homosexuals in Poland, Walesa said, “Homosexuals should sit on the last bench in the plenary hall, or even behind the wall, and not somewhere at the front.”
As a tiny minority, homosexuals should not be overrepresented. “A minority cannot impose itself on the majority,” Walesa added. “They must know they are a minority and adapt themselves to smaller things.”
He added that homosexual politicians should not have important posts within parliament and "gay pride" marches should take place on the outskirts of cities and not in the city center.
Walesa's words prompted Ryszard Nowak, director of the National Committee for the Defense Against Sects and Violence, to file a complaint with prosecutors in Gdansk, Walesa's hometown, claiming Walesa had "promoted hatred against sexual minorities."
In a subsequent interview with Radio Zet, Walesa was asked if he would offer an apology for his statement. He responded, “I won’t apologize to anybody…All I wanted to say is that these minorities shouldn’t install their views on the majority. I’m fed up with their flaunting.”
Renata Klonowska, head of the Regional Prosecutor's Office in Gdańsk, the city where Walesa led the historic 1980s Solidarity strikes that led to the toppling of Communism, told the PAP news agency that she would not be pursuing the allegations.
"I have watched the speech by Lech Walesa for signs of an offense,” Klonowska said, adding that investigators looked at articles 256 and 257 of Poland's Penal Code, which outlaw incitement to hatred "based on national, ethnic, racial, religious or lack of religious beliefs” for a possible basis for a charge.
Klonowska noted that neither article 256 nor 257 mention sexual orientation as a protected category.
She said that Ryszard Nowak has the right to appeal the decision.
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A 2012 survey by TNS Polska showed that 84 percent of Poles are against legalizing same-sex "marriage" in the predominantly Catholic nation.
While Walesa, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, is no longer involved in politics, though he is often interviewed for his perspectives on national and international issues, some politicians share his opinion on homosexuality.
MP Krystyna Pawlowicz, of the right-wing Polish Law & Justice opposition party, said in a January 24 Parliamentary speech on same-sex civil partnerships that "society cannot sponsor the short-lived, vain, and futile relationships of persons that are of no use whatsoever to society, founded only on a sexual bond between those persons.”
Poland has one openly homosexual MP, Robert Biedron, elected in the 2011 general election, as well as a transsexual man going by the name Anna Grodzka. Grodzka is a protege of Janusz Palikot, leader of the liberal Palikot Movement, the third largest party in the Sejm (lower house of Parliament).