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Poland's Draft Bill Targets Hate Speech: Up to 3 Years for LGBT Insults

Poland is poised to pass a law penalizing LGBT hate speech, amidst debates on free speech and discrimination protections.

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Wojciech Zylm
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Poland's Draft Bill Targets Hate Speech: Up to 3 Years for LGBT Insults

Poland's Draft Bill Targets Hate Speech: Up to 3 Years for LGBT Insults

Poland is on the brink of enacting a groundbreaking law that could imprison individuals for up to three years for making offensive remarks about LGBT people. Spearheaded by Deputy Justice Minister Krzysztof Śmiszek of the Left party, this legislation seeks to widen hate speech classifications to protect against discrimination based on age, disability, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

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Understanding the Legislation

The proposed amendment to Poland's penal code is a response to the growing demand for legal protections against hate speech targeting the LGBT community. Śmiszek emphasized that the draft aims to fortify the penal code by penalizing acts of violence, threats, and defamation rooted in discrimination. Critics, however, like Paweł Szafraniec of the conservative think-tank Ordo Iuris, argue that the bill's vague definitions of 'hate speech' could endanger freedom of speech and expression.

Political Implications and Public Reaction

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While the bill is expected to pass through Parliament due to the majority held by the coalition government, President Andrzej Duda, known for his conservative stance, is likely to veto it. This legislation comes amidst a backdrop of opposition from the ruling PiS party against LGBT sex education and the controversial 'LGBT-free zones'. Conversely, the Left party, along with others in the Third Way alliance, continues to champion the legalization of same-sex civil partnerships despite constitutional barriers.

Looking Ahead

The debate surrounding this draft bill highlights the tension between advancing LGBT rights and preserving traditional freedoms of speech and expression in Poland. As the legislation progresses, it will undoubtedly shape the discourse on civil rights, hate speech, and the balance between protecting vulnerable communities and maintaining individual liberties.

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