14 czerwca 2018

A ground-breaking sentence! The Supreme Court of Poland rules against discrimination of LGBT persons in access to service

The Supreme Court’s sentence is a ground-breaking victory of equality in Poland! – commented Campaign Against Homophobia (KPH), Polish largest LGBT advocacy organization.  The appeal for cassation issued by the Minister of Justice and Public Prosecutor General regarding the case of a printer who had refused to print a roll-up banner for an LGBT organization on the grounds of homophobia was dismissed. The prior decision of the Court which had found the printer guilty remains valid and the Supreme Court confirmed that no one should be discriminated against on the grounds of sexual orientation when accessing services.

The Supreme Court sentence is a ground-breaking victory of equality in Poland! Today marks a huge step towards the equality of LGBT rights and a reason for celebration for all the citizens of Poland who believe in equality, law and justice! – say the activists from KPH, Polish largest LGBT organization.

The Supreme Court’s decision confirmed that according to the article 38 of the Code of Petty Offences, a refusal of the access to services made to a non-heterosexual persons is prohibited. During the legal proceedings 4 sentences were ruled by courts of various degrees of jurisdiction. Each and every time the printer was found guilty.

This a clear signal from the administration of justice that LGBT persons living in Poland deserve equal treatment and protection of their dignity no matter who they are and who they fall in love with – says Paweł Knut from KPH in his reaction to the ruling of the Supreme Court – This sentence is yet another milestone towards obtaining full protection against discrimination for Polish LGBT citizens.

From the printing house to the Supreme Court – explained step-by-step

“I refuse to print a roll-up banner with the graphics I received. We are not contributing to the promotion of LGBT movement by our work.” This was the content of the email received by the NGO “LGBT Business Forum”, which ordered a roll-up banner with the organization’s logo and its Facebook page address. The organization had notified the Ombudsman about the incident, who has passed it to the Police. In February 2016, the Police forwarded the case to the District Court. The Court found the employee guilty and punished him with a fine of 200 PLN. At that time, the Minister of Justice and Public Prosecutor General Zbigniew Ziobro, got involved in the case by issuing a statement criticizing the verdict. On his request, the District Prosecutor’s Office in Lodz joined the proceedings. Finally, the case was referred to the District Court in Lodz, which confirmed the previous ruling. However, Minister Ziobro was not satisfied with the verdict and appealed to the Supreme Court, asking for the judgment to be quashed and the employee of the printing house acquitted. On June 14, the Supreme Court dismissed the case of the Prosecutor General, confirming that no one could be discriminated against on the grounds of sexual orientation in access to services.

Celebrating equality

Today’s verdict allows us to believe that soon the issues of legal changes affecting LGBT persons will gain their momentum. This will allow gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender persons living in Poland to live with dignity and on an equal footing with others – says Cecylia Jakubczak from KPH.

Undoubtedly, KPH’s lawyer representing LGBT Business Forum, Pawel Knut, is satisfied with the verdict, which he comments: – I believe and I hope that although the current Polish authorities are not willing to notice the existence of rights of LGBT people, we can count on minimum safety in Poland.