Lech Walesa has been charged with a hate crime for his recent homophobic comments on television.
Walesa is the former president of Poland and Nobel Peace Prize winner who orchestrated the country’s transition from communism to post-communism. He was the co-founder of the Solidarity trade union movement.
In a television interview with news channel TVN 24, Lech Walesa said in connection with gays serving in the country’s parliament that they should not sit in the front benches of the legislative chamber and that instead they sit in in back, “and even behind a wall.”
According to AP, Lech Walesa made these additional comments:
“They have to know that they are a minority and must adjust to smaller things. And not rise to the greatest heights, the greatest hours, the greatest provocations, spoiling things for the others and taking …from the majority. I don’t agree to this and I will never agree to it.
“A minority should not impose itself on the majority.”
A hate-speech complaint has been filed against Walesa with prosecutors in his hometown of Gdansk.
Lech Walesa is a devout Roman Catholic and father of eight.
According to The Independent, one Polish lawmaker said this of Walesa:
“I am surprised that only now we are noticing that Walesa is not in control of what he says and that he has views that are far from being politically correct.”
The Independent also notes that recent polling suggests that nearly 70 percent of Polish citizens oppose gay marriage. The country’s parliament recently defeated a bill that would have extended some rights to same-sex couples.
Robert Biedron, the parliament’s first open gay member, had this to say about the Lech Walesa controversy according to Reuters:
“Walesa was a hero. I dream of meeting Walesa and talking to him about it. I think Walesa doesn’t realize the kind of society we are now. Walesa went astray somewhere.”
Do you agree with many observers who have made their feelings known in the media that democracy icon Lech Walesa has tarnished his legacy with these anti-gay comments?
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