Amid a court order and retailers boycotting, a conservative pro-government Polish magazine has vowed to keep distributing a sticker that says ‘LGBTI-free zone.’
Gazeta Polska was ordered by courts to halt the distribution of the stickers, that show a black cross superimposed on a Pride flag.
In what has inflamed the election-year debate of LGBTI rights in the country, the stickers come as communities announce they are ‘LGBTI-free.’
On Thursday, Warsaw district court ordered the governing Law and Justice Party (PiS)-supporting magazine to no longer hand out the stickers.
The first edition of the paper with the stickers arrived in news agents and kiosks on Wednesday.
— Gazeta Polska (@GPtygodnik) July 18, 2019
‘LGBT is not a minority, it’s a paradigm which appears to have all the features of a totalitarian ideology,’ the newspaper said in an editorial, according to Bloomberg.
But LGBTI rights activist and organizer of the Equality March in Lublin Bartosz Staszewski took the paper to court and won.
‘It’s our small-big victory against homophobia in Poland,’ Staszewski said at a press conference after the court decision.
His lawyers said the ruling was to take effect immediately.
Furthermore, BP Plc, which has a network of petrol stations in Poland, said it’s blocking sales of the paper. Bookstore chain Empik SA has also joined.
‘Unlawful and unenforceable’
However, editor-in-chief of Gazeta Polska, Tomasz Sakiewicz, called the decision ‘fake news’ on Twitter.
Kochani Czytelnicy, jutro Gazeta Polska normalnie w kioskach. To był fakenews. Nie ma żadnej klauzuli zabezpieczającej. Decyzja sądu, o ile istnieje, jest nieprawomocna i niewykonalna. Jeżeli gdzieś specjalnie będą chować gazetę lub naklejkę zgłaszamy sprawę do prokuratury
— Tomasz Sakiewicz (@TomaszSakiewicz) July 25, 2019
Moreover, he alleged in an interview in Wirtualnemedia that the ruling would be ‘the first case of censorship’ in Poland since communism.
Sakiewicz and his legal team have the option to appeal the court’s decision, one that Staszewski’s lawyers claim they sent to the magazine’s publisher in both paper and electronic versions.
What exactly is going on in Poland?
Election season is heating up in Poland, and many politicians and potential lawmakers are whipping up homophobia as a campaign strategy.
As a result, patches of Poland have declared themselves ‘free of LGBTI ideology,’ according to queer rights groups. While others find their first Prides the targets of right-wing mobs.
This comes as the nationalist governing PiS party have made opposition to LGBTI rights the corernstone of its campaigning.
PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski, as well as many the group’s rank and file, have publicly attacked LGBTI people in speeches.
Kaczynski once referred to LGBTI people and rights as a ‘threat to Polish society.’