A Polish appeals court has ruled that “LGBT-free zones” in four cities “must be scrapped” Reuters reports.
Starting in 2019, multiple cities and regions across Poland, a conservative Catholic country, declared themselves to be “LGBT free,” meaning that they would not tolerate inclusive measures directed toward those in the LGBTQ+ community. Over one third of the country would declare itself “LGBT free” by 2020.
Activists, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and the European Union (EU) criticized the creation of these zones, saying that they were in violation of non-discriminatory standards established by the EU, of which Poland is part.
The most recent ruling, which was handed down Tuesday, followed an earlier ruling in a lower appeals court that nine such “LGBT-free zones” be scrapped. That ruling was subsequently challenged by the provinces in question, conservative groups, and Poland’s public prosecutor, Reuters reports, sending the cases to the higher court, which has now dismissed the appeals in the first four cases.
In a statement made on its website, Poland’s Campaign Against Homophobia, a non-profit that advocates for LGBTQ+ rights, praised the ruling, calling it “a big win for the Ombudsman for Civil Law, our community and human rights.”
The creation of “LGBT-free zones” has caused a rift between Poland and other members of the EU, which has threatened to withhold funds for regions that continue to distinguish themselves as such.
Some provinces have already reserved the designation of their own volition following suspension of funds from the EU.