While gay men and women welcomed this week’s ruling by the European Court of Human Rights supporting adoption by gay men and women, Polish politicians have effectively said that they would take no notice of what the Grand Chamber of Europe’s highest court has said.
The case centred on a French gay woman who claimed that she was not permitted to apply to be an adoptive parent on grounds of sexuality.
“It’s a milestone,” said Robert Biedron, president of the Warsaw-based Campaign Against Homophobia, speaking about the Strasbourg court ruling.
“This decision prevents administrators of various countries from denying LGB people adoption which has happened in many places.”
But Polish politicians have vowed to disregard the court ruling.
“If a similar judgment dealt with Poland we would still not agree to adoption by homosexuals,” said deputy speaker of the Polish Parliament, Stefan Niesiolowski, a member of the ruling Citizen’s Platform (PO).
“The Court can go on and make a ruling,” he continued.
“[But] it still won’t be enforced in Poland. We will defend ourselves because it’s unthinkable that homosexuals would adopt children.”
Mr. Niesiolowski was backed by some constitutional law professors like Marek Chmaj.
He said that the Court in Strasbourg does not have the power to change the decisions of national courts – but can only give their opinion in regards to whether the application of the law was just.
“This ruling will have no effect on the legal situation of homosexuals to adopt in Poland as the European Convention of Human Rights does not refer to this issue,” said Prof. Chmaj.
Mr. Biedron expressed disbelief: “I am shocked about the statements of some politicians who are trying to deny the power of the European Court,” he said.
Polls show that around 93% of Poles are against adoption by homosexuals.
Poland signed-up to – and ratified – membership of the Council of Europe following the fall of the Soviet Union. Membership includes adoption of the European Charter on Human Rights and recognition of the European Court of Human Rights. Membership of the Council of Europe is a pre-requisite to join the European Union.