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Poland's Lech Walesa Shocks Nation With Antigay Statements

By Trudy Ring

Lech Walesa, Poland’s first democratic-era president and a legendary labor leader who has been lauded as a human rights activist, has made clear his support for human rights does not extend to gay people.

In a TV interview Friday, the former president and Nobel Peace Prize winner went on a homophobic rant, saying gay people should not play a prominent role in politics. Walesa said “that he believes gays have no right to sit on the front benches in Parliament and, if represented at all, should sit in the back, ‘and even behind a wall,’” the Associated Press reports.

“They have to know that they are a minority and must adjust to smaller things,” he told broadcaster TVN. “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. I don’t agree to this and I will never agree to it. … A minority should not impose itself on the majority.”

An anti–hate speech group today filed a complaint with prosecutors in Walesa’s hometown of Gdansk, saying he has promoted “propaganda of hate against a sexual minority.” Several politicians and journalists decried his words as well.

“His language was appalling,” said Jerzy Wenderlich, a deputy speaker of Parliament. “It was the statement of a troglodyte.” Read more here.

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