Three Polish activists who were tempted to offend religious feelings for portraying the Virgin Mary under a rainbow of the LGBT movement were acquitted on Tuesday (2).
Elzbieta P., Anna P. and Joanna G. took the posters with them during a demonstration in 2019 in the town of Plock (110 km northwest of Warsaw), to protest against the statements of the government and the Church Catholic who condemned homosexuality and equal rights. LGBT people.
The rainbow, a symbol of the fight against homophobia, was painted on an icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa, a saint of devotion for many faithful in Poland, a country in which 93% declare themselves Catholic and 58% say they practice (according to 2015 data).
The use of the image was criticized by then Interior Minister Joachim Brudzinski, according to which “freedom and tolerance do not give anyone the right to insult the feelings of the faithful”, and they were charged with blasphemy by the Plock district attorney.
The district court concluded that the activists’ goal was not to hurt religious people, but to protect people discriminated against because of their sexual orientation. “Was this in the opinion of the court an act of provocation?” Yes, wasn’t this controversial form of expression intended to introduce an important issue into the public debate? There is no provision of the Catholic Church that excludes non-heteronormative people, ”said a judge, according to the Campaign Against Homophobia and Independent Media.
There is always an appeal, however. If found guilty, they face up to two years in prison – in the first trial, the prosecutor asked for six months in prison and 30 hours per month of unpaid and supervised work.
Poland is the EU country with the least LGBT rights, according to a 2020 survey by the international Ilga federation, which assesses more than 50 criteria. The country received 16% of the possible points, less than a quarter of the 73% of Belgium, the best rated.
Last year, other protesters were accused of desecrating monuments and offending religious sentiments after hanging rainbow flags on statues during a protest against anti-LGBT policies by Conservative President Andrzej Duda.
More than 100 Polish cities have declared themselves “LGBT-free”, prompting the European Union to cut funding.
For one of the leaders of the women’s strike movement, Bozena Przyluska (pronounced Boshena Pshyouska), the district court’s decision was a victory for freedom of expression. “Down with obscurantism, intolerance and, above all, homophobia.”