Polish education minister forced to apologize for homophobic remarks

Polish Education Minister Przemysław Czarnek had to apologize for homophobic statements he made in 2020, saying in remarks released Wednesday that LGBTQ+ people were “not equal to normal people.”

However, although he formally apologized in a statement on social media, the Polish minister said he stood by his words.

“I, the undersigned Przemysław Czarnek, Minister of Education and Science, retract my words made on June 13, 2020 on TVP Info and August 3, 2020 on Radio Maryja, but stand by my views,” he wrote.

The apologies date from July, but were only made public on Wednesday.

During the 2020 Polish presidential campaign, Czarnek, then an MP from the right-wing Law and Justice party, said in a TV interview: “Let’s stop listening to this idiocy about some human rights or some equality. These people are not equal to normal people.”

The comments sparked outrage among the LGBTQ+ community, and prompted Jakub Urbanik, a lecturer at Warsaw University and a prominent voice within the community, to file a lawsuit against the minister and request an apology.

“My intention was not to offend anyone, including people from the LGBT+ community, in particular Mr. Prof. Jakub Urbanik,” Czarnek’s statement further reads.

In response, Urbanik said in a Facebook post: “We shall never cease fighting homophobia. It is a small step, but leading to fulfilment of the protection of human dignity as stipulated by the art. 47 of the Constitution [which guarantees personal freedoms].”

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