While the Polish football team battles it out in Russia and hopes for its sinking fortunes to miraculously rise at the FIFA World Cup, back home in Poland another long ending struggle has been won by the Polish LGBT community in it’s Supreme court.
Just last week in a landmark Supreme Court ruling, the court upheld the judgments by two lower courts in a case wherein an employee of a print shop denied services to an LGBT organization under the grouse that he did not want, in his eyes, to “promote” the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people.
The court held that the right to equality before the law meant the printer did not have a right to withhold services from the organization.
All Human Rights groups and especially the group Campaign Against Homophobia hailed the landmark judgment. But the Polish Minister of Justice and Prosecutor General, Zbigniew Ziobro was not amused especially because he had put his entire political and legal weight behind a judgment in favour of the print shop employee. He sharply criticised the ruling saying the Supreme Court sided with the “ideology of homosexual activists” against the government; thereby insinuating that the judgment was in way ‘Supreme Court’s betrayal of the government’.
This controversy between the Polish government and the Supreme Court comes at a time when the Polish government has introduced new legislation, taking effect on July 3, giving the government greater influence over the appointment of judges to the very same court.
This Polish Supreme Court ruling should be celebrated as a principled confirmation that every individual, no matter what their sexual orientation, is entitled to the same services without discrimination. The ruling also reinforces in stark terms how important it is that the judiciary remains independent from government and that the rule of law be firmly engrained in Poland’s democracy.
Surely a lesson even our Indian parliamentarians and judiciary could learn from.