February 10, 2011 / 2:34 PM / 8 years ago

Polish MP apologizes for homophobic "joke"

WARSAW (Reuters Life!) - A lawmaker from Poland’s ruling party apologized on Thursday for a “joke” he made about gay men and lesbians and said he was not homophobic despite having conservative views on marriage and sexuality.

Asked by TVN24 for his views on homosexuals forming legal civic partnerships, Robert Wegrzyn of the center-right Civic Platform (PO) said on Wednesday: “We can forget about gay men, but I would gladly watch lesbians.”

“Human nature, human beings are made in such a way that we should live in a partnership according to nature. If somebody wants to live differently, that’s his problem but he should not flaunt it.”

His comments drew criticism from women’s groups and Wegrzyn said he was sorry for any offence he may have caused.

“I am sorry if this joke insulted anybody because it really could have sounded sexist. That was not my intention,” he said.

“My views on relationships between two people are unchanging and conservative but this does not mean I am a homophobe or discriminate against anybody... I oppose discrimination against anybody on grounds of sexual orientation.”

The head of PO’s parliamentary group, Tomasz Tomczykiewicz, was quoted by the PAP state news agency as saying Wegrzyn would have to pay a fine for his “silly” and “irresponsible” comments.

Poland remains one of Europe’s most devoutly Catholic countries but surveys suggest Poles are becoming more liberal on issues such as homosexuality and larger cities are home to increasingly open, self-confident gay and lesbian communities.

Last summer, Warsaw attracted homosexuals from across Europe to attend Euro-Pride, an annual celebration of gay and lesbian culture, and avoided violent protests from far-right groups that have marred similar events in Russia, Serbia and elsewhere.

There are discussions in Poland about allowing gays and lesbians to form legally based civic partnerships and about recognizing the rights of same-sex couples who have married in other European Union countries.

Writing by Gareth Jones, editing by Paul Casciato

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