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In October of last year, in the city of Mielec, Bart Staszewski, a Lublin-based activist fighting for the rights of non-heteronormative people in Poland, installed an official-looking road sign that read "LGBT-free zone" in several languages next to the real city limit sign. The City Hall of Mielec responded to the matter on Facebook on the same day. The local government issued a statement in which it assured that it had not passed any resolutions discriminating against sexual minorities.

However, the explanations did not convince local residents, who quickly reminded the authorities of Mielec of the resolution on the Local Government Charter of Family Rights (based on a document prepared by the ultra-conservative Ordo Iuris Foundation), which was adopted by the city council at the end of September 2019.

District Court in Mielec acquits the activist

Mr. Staszewski’s campaign against homophobia did not go unnoticed. Krzysztof Sobolewski, MP and chairman of the Executive Committee of the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS), filed a criminal complaint regarding the placement of the “LGBT-free zone” sign under the official city limit sign. Late last week, Bart Staszewski reported that he was acquitted by the District Court in Mielec.

"The judge ruled that there was no evidence of a misdemeanor. This is the third court and my third acquittal in two weeks. An incredible relief... These trials are supposed to discourage me, to wear me out. It's not gonna work. You won't make it. I'm not one of those" – Mr. Staszewski wrote in a Facebook post.

The activist has already been sued several times for similar actions. A case is currently pending before the District Court in Tarnobrzeg regarding an “LGBT-free zone” sign mr. Staszewski installed in Tuszów Narodowy. It has been a response to a scandalous letter that Andrzej Głaz, the local mayor, sent to the Ombudsman. In it, mr. Głaz stated that the LGBTQ community is a "rainbow plague" and a "diabolical ideology" deserving a worse punishment than the biblical Sodom and Gomorrah.

The authorities of Tuszów Narodowy, supported by the Polish League Against Defamation (Reduta Dobrego Imienia), sued the LGBTI+ activist and demanded that he apologize and publish a rectification in all the media that wrote about his campaign.


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