After nearly a third of Poland towns and municipalities declared “LGBT-free zones,” the European Union has stepped in and denied funding to them.
Six towns in Poland that have adopted the homophobic policies have been denied funding, according to a statement from the EU’s Commissioner for Equality.
“EU values and fundamental rights must be respected by Member States and state authorities,” said Commissioner Helena Dalli in a tweet Tuesday.
They applied for grants as part of a “town twinning” proposal, which would connect two communities in separate nations for joint partnerships. Other applicants that didn’t adopt “LGBT-free zone” policies were approved.
The news comes as sitting president Andrzej Duda won a re-election as part of the right-wing Law and Justice party. In his tenure, the nation has intensified its anti-LGBT sentiment after Duda signed a “family charter” that pledged to “ban the propagation of LGBT ideology in public institutions.” Further, he proposed an amendment that would prohibit same-sex couple adoptions.
Towns elsewhere in the EU, including France and the Netherlands, have reneged on “sister city” partnerships with Polish towns that have aligned themselves with “LGBT-free” ideologies.
Nearly a third of Poland’s 38 million residents live in zones declared by local officials as “LGBT-free,” which have no legal power but mirror a rising anti-LGBT tide in the country.
Poland’s Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro called the rejection “unlawful,” urging for a reversal from the EU Commission and arguing that the views of all citizens should be respected by the EU.
Poland joined the EU in 2004.
Contributing: The Associated Press. Follow Joshua Bote on Twitter: @joshua_bote.