Poland's Walesa provokes outrage with anti-gay comments

Sun Mar 3, 2013 10:37am EST
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WARSAW (Reuters) - Nobel Peace Prize laureate Lech Walesa has provoked outrage among liberal Poles by suggesting homosexuals in parliament should sit behind a wall.

Walesa, the deeply religious former president of post-Communist Poland, was speaking during an interview on Saturday broadcast by news channel TVN 24 in which he was asked about homosexual rights.

Asked where homosexuals should sit in the parliamentary chamber, he said: "No minority should climb all over the majority. Homosexuals should even sit behind a wall, and not somewhere at the front.

"They must know they are a minority and adapt themselves to smaller things."

Ryszard Nowak, a former conservative member of parliament, reported Walesa to the prosecutor's office late on Saturday, accusing him of promoting hatred of sexual minorities.

"The report was filed on Saturday, when the office is closed," prosecutors' office spokeswoman Barbara Sworobowicz told Reuters. "We will examine it, starting on Monday, if it meets the legal definition of a crime."

Robert Biedron, Poland's first openly gay deputy, appealed to Walesa to discuss homosexual rights with him.

"Walesa was a hero. I dream of meeting Walesa and talking to him about it," Biedron said in remarks broadcast separately by TVN 24.

"I think Walesa doesn't realize the kind of society we are now. Walesa went astray somewhere."   Continued...

Former Polish President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Lech Walesa waits to receive his award during the Golden Hen (Goldene Henne) media prize awards ceremony in Berlin September 19, 2012. REUTERS/John MacDougall/Pool