President Lech Kaczynski of Poland delivered a nationally televised speech against gay rights on March 17 in which he used footage from an American couple’s wedding to illustrate the dangers of same-sex marriage. His aim was to discourage Polish ratification of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights, which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation.
The couple, Brendan Fay and Dr. Thomas Moulton of New York City, who were married in Canada in 2003, was surprised to discover their privacy had been violated by a politician seeking to rally his base in eastern Poland with anti-gay rhetoric. Fay is an Irish-born gay activist who organizes the annual, all-inclusive St. Patrick’s Day parade in Queens as an alternative to the Manhattan parade that prohibits openly gay groups from marching.
When Fay learned about President Kaczynski’s use of his wedding images after receiving calls from media, he filed a complaint with the Polish consulate in New York. A press conference was held on March 24, with the assistance of Human Rights Watch, calling for a Polish response to this incident and drawing attention to the country’s need to assess its overall record on sexual orientation and gender identity.