Media Release
Monday April 27th 2020
ABC TV documentary highlights danger of religious exemptions
Attack on Polish LGBTI “logical extension” of exclusion laws  
The ‘LGBTI exclusion zones’ being gazetted throughout Poland are the logical extension of excluding LGBTIQ people from public life through ‘religious freedom,’ according to national lobby group Just-Equal.

Tuesday night's episode of ‘ABC Foreign Correspondent’ will cover Poland's legislated LGBT exclusion zones (8pm, Tuesday 28 April)

Spokesperson Brian Greig, said the conservative push in Poland, backed by the Catholic Church, to ban LGBTIQ people from visibility, advocacy and civic space was the inevitable conclusion of a religious freedom narrative which has demonised LGBTIQ around the globe since the rise of marriage equality.

“What is happening in Poland is the politics of exclusion and scape-goating. At the very time  communities should be coming together, Poland’s MPs are engaging in social exclusion -  targeting the LGBTIQ community with religion as their rationale,” Mr Greig said.

A number of Polish municipalities have passed a swathe of non-binding resolutions which began in 2019, and which coincide with a rise in rhetoric by the governing Law and Justice Party (PiS) denouncing “LGBT ideology” as a foreign import threatening Poland’s ‘Christian values.’ The mood has led to street violence and physical attacks on LGBTIQ people.

Speaking recently to the New York Times, Polish gay activist Jakub Kwiencinski, said “The situation for LGBTI people in Poland is getting worse, I would say day-by-day, the Law and Justice Party are against us...they also encourage people to attack us, to insult us.”

Mr Greig said there are parallels in Australia with the Federal Government’s Religious Freedom legislation, which Prime Minister Scott Morrison continues to pursue.

“The Religious Freedom legislation drafted by Attorney General Christian Porter, allows doctors, nurses and pharmacists to refuse to provide essential health services to LGBTIQ people if those services are against their religious beliefs - including hormone treatment to transgender young people.

“The Bill also overrides all existing State and Federal anti-discrimination laws, and will allow religious people to ‘insult, offend and humiliate’ LGBTI people in the name of religion.

“The impact of Australia’s Religious Freedom legislation is to define LGBTIQ people as a threat and danger to traditional, Christian values. It builds on existing religious exceptions in the Sex Discrimination Act, giving religious people further legal justification and social license to discriminate, insult and exclude LGBTIQ people from public life,” Mr Greig said.

Mr Greig is urging people to watch the ABC’s ‘Foreign Correspondent’ on Tuesday night to understand the ‘logical conclusion’ of excluding LGBTIQ people with legislation that gives traditional religious values special legal status.

“Scott Morrison’s Religious Freedom Bill is not benign, and must not be allowed to pass in its current form,” Mr Greig said.
For a copy of this statement online, click here
For more information contact Brian Greig (Perth) 040 777 6961