LGBT persons in Poland face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT.

Homosexual sex was generally legalized in 1932. Note that the laws prohibiting homosexual sex were imposed by the occupying powers and there was never a Polish law banning homosexuality (excluding homosexual prostitution 1932-1969). At the same time the age of consent was equalized with that of heterosexual partners. Homosexual prostitution was legalized in 1969. Homosexuals are not banned from military service. There is no law against gays. Homosexuality was deleted from the list of diseases in 1991. Some political parties like Alliance of the Democratic Left, Labor Union (Poland), Social Democracy of Poland,, Zieloni 2004, RACJA PL and some other leftist parties support Gay Rights.

Protection based on sexual orientation in law

Anti-discrimination laws were added to the Labor Code in 2003. The Polish Constitution guarantees equality in accordance with law and prohibition based on "any reason" which also covers sexual orientation, although this has not been tested in the courts. The proposal of inclusion of the prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in the constitution in 1995 was rejected, after strong Catholic Church objections.

Recognition of same sex couples

There is no legal recognition of same-sex couples. In late 2003 Polish Senator Maria Szyszkowska proposed civil unions for same-sex couples, called "Registered Partnerships", similar to French PACS. On 3 December 2004 the Senate (the upper chamber of the Polish Parliament) adopted the Civil Unions project. The legislation had not passed both houses of the Parliament prior to the 2005 Parliamentary election and will almost certainly not be revived by the conservative parties which emerged as the majority following the election.

It is unlikely that same sex marriages or civil unions will be endorsed in the near future as the nation is 95% Roman Catholic, with 75% practicing. The Church in Poland is quite politically active and holds a considerable degree of influence in the state, significantly more than in most western Catholic countries.

In 2004, Warsaw's City Transport Department decision to allow cohabitating partners of gay and lesbian employees to travel free on the city's public transport system was the first case of recognition of same sex couples in Poland.

In 2007, Chorzów’s City Center of Social Assistance decision has recognized homosexual relationships. It has declined conceding of social assistance for one of partners, recognizing that according to law, persons living in common relationship, in same household are family, so another partner is obligated to care on him.

Gay life in Poland

A survey from 2005 found 89% of the population stating that they consider homosexuality an "unnatural" activity. Additionally, only half believe homosexuality should be tolerated.[1] Tolerance increased in the 1990s and early 2000s, mainly amongst younger people and those living in larger cities. There exists a vibrant gay scene with many gay clubs all around the country. More than thirty gay organisations exist.

In 2004 and 2005, Warsaw together with other Polish cities, including Kraków, have blocked gay pride parades citing various reasons including the likelihood of counter-demonstrations or the interference with religious or national holidays, or the lack of a permit, (1) Despite this, about 2,500 people marched on June 11, 2005. 10 people were arrested, but released soon afterwards. The parade was condemned by Mayor Lech Kaczyński, who has said that allowing an official Gay Pride event in Warsaw would promote a "homosexual lifestyle".[2] (2)] In October 2005, Lech Kaczyński was elected President of Poland. The views of Kaczyński and the government of Poland, particularly their public statements indicating that gays shouldn't be admitted into the teaching profession and calling homosexuality “unnatural', have caused some tension between Poland and human rights activists in Western Europe.

An opinion poll conducted in late 2006 at the request of the European Commission indicated Polish public opinion was generally opposed to same-sex marriage and to adoption by gay couples. The Eurobarometer 66 poll found that 74% and 89% of Poles respectively were opposed to same-sex marriage and adoption by gay couples. Of the EU member states surveyed only Latvia and Greece had higher levels of opposition.[3] However, according to one gay magazine, Poland is one of the 10 'anti-gay countries in the world', ranking (as the only Western country) at number eight[4][5][6] (despite the fact that homosexuality is criminalized in over 70 countries around the world, while not in Poland).


Following the rise to power of Poland's Roman Catholic right-wing government including some openly homophobic members, Polish gay rights groups claim that thousands of Polish gays have emigrated to Britain. As well as other more tolerant countries such as Germany, France, Canada, Australia and America (To name a few.) to escape "increasing persecution" including the Health Ministry's "special committee responsible for 'curing' gays". Deputy Health Minister, Marek Grafowski, stated the ministry was developing guides "to assist parents and teachers so that they can recognise any warning signs of potential 'gay behavior'". Robert Biedroń, the president of the Polish Campaign Against Homophobia society, believes that most of the Polish gays emigrate to the UK not for economic reasons but because of being persecuted in Poland. [7]

Summary table

Homosexuality legal since 1932 Yes
Equal age of consent since 1932 Yes
Anti-discrimination laws in employment since 2003 Yes
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services No
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (indirect discrimination and hate speech) No
Same-sex marriage(s) No
Recognition of same-sex couples No
Adoption by same-sex couples No
Gays allowed to serve in the military Yes
Right to change legal gender Yes
Access to IVF for lesbians No
MSM allowed to donate blood since 2005 Yes

See also


External links

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LGBT and Queer studies
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