13 lutego 2017

Prosecutors Office in Poland wants to control same-sex couples – statement

Same-sex couples living in Poland are feeling endangered. In an official document, the Deputy of Public Prosecutor General ordered for prosecutors to determine how many procedures are currently taking place regarding issuance of a certificate of marital status at the request of persons who married persons of the same sex abroad. After gaining that data prosecutors are to report their involvement in such procedures. We cannot allow for 2 millions of Polish LGBT people to live in fear of their country — wrote Campaign Against Homophobia (Kampania Przeciw Homofobii) in an official statement.

The Deputy of Public Prosecutor General Robert Hernand in a document addressed to regional prosecutors wrote that it’s unacceptable to accept a statement of joining a same-sex marriage by the Civil Registrar. As announced by National Public Prosecutor’s Office, Hernand reminded prosecutors of the necessity of obtaining the information about the ongoing proceedings regarding entering a foreign marriage certificate into the polish civil status records. After acquiring the data prosecutors will report taking a part in such procedure.

In an evaluation by experts from Campaign Against Homophobia — the biggest organisation in Poland protecting the rights of the LGBT community — the writing prepared by the National Public Prosecutor’s Office is aiming to discourage people in same-sex union from taking any steps towards having their relationships recognised by Polish law. In Campaign Against Homophobia’s opinion, the statement issued by the Prosecutor was both premature and redundant. There has been no ruling in Poland so far issued by any public authority or court that would result in the institutionalization of same-sex relationships. As such, there has been no situation that would require such reaction from the management of the Prosecutor’s Office. In Campaign Against Homophobia’s view, in his statement the Prosecutor does not recognize the difference between transcription of foreign act marriage certificate into Polish civil status records and the legal effects which such marriage certificate in Poland might cause. In response to the ‘mobilization’ from the side of the Prosecutor, we want to declare that Campaign Against Homophobia is ready to grant free legal help to every couple that should face obstacles in protecting their laws because of the Prosecutor’s document.

Full content of the Campaign Against Homophobia statement:

Campaign Against Homophobia expresses a deep concern over the content of a document addressing all regional prosecutors made by the Deputy of Public Prosecutor General Robert Hernand regarding registering foreign marriages between people of the same sex.

In his writing, the Deputy of Public Prosecutor General indicated that in cases of so-called transcriptions, i.e. entering foreign same-sex marriage certificates into Polish civil status records, prosecutors should report their involvement in this category of procedure in order to ‘protect the rule of law’. Campaign Against Homophobia, as an organisation protecting laws of LGBT people, cannot allow for 2 million of Poles to feel endangered by the state. In our assessment, the document prepared by the National Public Prosecutor’s Office has the intention of discouraging persons remaining in a same-sex union from attempting to have their union recognised by Polish law. In actions of the Prosecutor’s Office we see a resemblance to Operation ‘Hyacinth’, which consisted of actions taken by the state aimed at LGBT people.

In Campaign Against Homophobia opinion, the statement issued by the Prosecutor was both premature and redundant. There has been no ruling in Poland so far issued by any public authority or court that would result in the institutionalization of same-sex relationships. As such, there has been no situation that would require such reaction from the management of the Prosecutor’s Office.

In Campaign Against Homophobia’s view, in his statement the Prosecutor does not recognize the difference between transcription of foreign act marriage certificate into Polish civil status records and the legal effects which such marriage certificate in Poland might cause. The Prosecutor seems to equate these two situations. Contrary to the Prosecution’s opinion, transcription does not result in an obligation for the state of Poland to recognise the legal consequences of same-sex marriages that took place abroad. Transcription only validates the fact of issuing a marriage certificate and its force of evidence. In opinion of lawyer Paweł Knut, KPH attorney  — Transcription of a foreign marriage certificate does not lead to infringement of Polish law. It’s quite the opposite — transcription helps to protect the rule of law, to which the Prosecution has referred. Because of it, Polish public authorities can know whether a given person remains in a foreign marriage. It allows them for example to efficiently work against bigamy. Consciously refusing to use this information can paradoxically hurt the Polish law system.

In response to the ‘mobilization’ from the side of the Prosecutor, we want to declare that Campaign Against Homophobia is ready to grant free legal help to every couple that should face obstacles in protecting their laws because of the Prosecutor’s document.