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Gays ‘should sit in the back’
In a television interview last week, Walesa said gay people had no right to play a prominent role in politics and the gay community needed to simply “adjust to smaller things”.
He said he also believes gays had no right to sit on the front benches in Parliament and should sit in the back and “even behind a wall”.
“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 (what they want) from the majority,” he told TVN during a segment gay rights. “
I don’t agree to this and I will never agree to it.”
Poland’s first openly gay and transsexual parliamentarians have since taken seats on the front bench of the national assembly in protest against the remarks. Robert Biedron and Anna Grodzka are members of the progressive Palikot’s Movement party, and party leader Janusz Palikot arranged for the two to sit in front, giving his own seat to Biedron, The Guardian newspaper reports.
“Lech Walesa is an important symbol for us all and for the whole world,” Biedron told the Associated Press.
“I respect him and I’d rather he used other words – words of acceptance and of respect for other people.”
A former trade union organiser, Walesa won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983 and served as president of Poland between 1990-1995.