LEGAL: Polish Gays Win Legal Battle for Freedom of Gathering in Public
WARSAW, Poland (Warsaw Independent): Poland's Supreme Administrative Court (NSA) upheld an earlier administrative court ruling, effectively supporting the right of homosexuals and other minority groups to organize public rallies and marches.
In a ruling issued Thursday, May 25, the court said the mayor of Poznań
, western Poland, and the voivode, the top local government representative in the Poznań region, did not have the right to ban the 2005 gay march in the city.
The march was banned by the mayor of Poznań, who cited security reasons. A year earlier, a similar legal event led to street riots with far-right activists. The organizers of the march claimed that the mayor of Poznań, Ryszard Grobelny, surrendered to the demands of far-right parties and the Catholic clergy, who believed the demonstration was immoral.
The demonstration, called the Equality March and organized in the late 2005, was supposed to promote the equality of minority groups in Poland. It took place despite the ban on Nov. 19, and the police in Poznań briefly detained and interrogated 68 demonstrators, who protested against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender, race, and disability.
Grobelny's decision was sued by the organizers of the march, whose claims were also supported by the Citizens' Rights Ombudsman. After an initial defeat before the Voivodeship Administrative Court for Poznań, Grobelny sued the first-instance decision to the Supreme Administrative Court. The NSA ruling is final. Warsaw authorities have not yet decided if they will allow a gay march to take place on June 10 in the capital city.
Similar gay demonstrations were banned in 2004 and 2005 by the conservative mayor, now Poland's president, Lech Kaczyński, who also saw his decisions cancelled by administrative courts.
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