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Poland's Duda up against EU values as he makes pre-election vow to protect children from 'foreign ideology of LGBT'

Poland's Duda up against EU values as he makes pre-election vow to protect children from 'foreign ideology of LGBT'
Poland's conservative president has pledged to protect his country's children from the "propaganda of LGBT ideology" as he seeks reelection. His stance flies in the face of values held in Brussels, Poland's long-time donor.

Andrzej Duda is seeking a second term as the President of Poland from the ruling conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party. On Wednesday, he signed up to several campaign promises, including that, as president, he will continue to be a staunch protector of family values. Standing out in Duda's pledge is the section titled "Protecting children from LGBT ideology."

Polish children under President Duda will be safe because "LGBT propaganda" will be kept out of public institutions, according to the document. Parents will be the ones primarily responsible for how their kids are brought up and they will decide if their kids need sex education and other extra-curricular offerings at school.

"These are the principles that I will follow when deciding whether to sign the laws adopted by the Polish parliament," Duda declared, as he signed the family platform. He said advocacy of equality for same-sex couples, which would allow them to register as married and to adopt children, was a "foreign ideology" that Poland would not accept.

The platform promises to be welcomed by many voters in Poland, which to a large degree is a socially conservative Catholic nation. Others will likely criticize it as retrograde and homophobic.

The stance may also subject Duda to some extra flak from officials in Brussels, as EU authorities consider advancing LGBT rights among its priorities.

The long-running disagreements with Warsaw over things like its judiciary reform or media laws however don't seem to affect Brussels' willingness to aid Poland financially. In 2018, the country contributed just under 3 billion euros ($3.4 billion) to the EU budget while receiving 16.35 billion euros ($18.6 billion) from the joint EU coffer. 

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The family pledge announced by Duda was perceived by some Polish media as a counterpart to the Warsaw LGBT+ Declaration, a document signed last year by his primary competitor, Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski. The official, who is running for the presidential office from the Civic Platform (PO) party, had promised all kinds of support on municipal and city level to sexual minorities, including patronage of gay pride marches from the mayor's office.

Trzaskowski stepped into the campaign after Malgorzata Kidawa-Blonska withdrew her candidacy in mid-May, seeing her support plunge to single digits over a call to boycott the election altogether. Poland was supposed to vote for its next president on May 10, but the ballot had been postponed till June 28 due to the threat of Covid-19.

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