Some Polish regions reverse ‘LGBT-free’ status after EU funding threat

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Three Polish regional councils voted on Monday to reverse their statuses as “LGBT-free zones,” after the European Union threatened to withhold millions of dollars in aid because of their anti-LGBT stances.

Council members in Podkarpackie and Lubelskie provinces, located in the southeastern part of Poland, and those in southerly Malopolskie province all voted to rescind motions they had in place that declared themselves free of “LGBT ideology,” according to Reuters.

The Swietokrzyskie region in southern Poland voted last week to reverse a motion it adopted in June 2019 that said it was free of “LGBT ideology,” according to Reuters.

Those provinces are four of nearly a hundred municipalities and provinces that have reportedly approved measures contending that they are free of LGBT beliefs.

The reversals come after the European Commission sent letters to the governors of five Polish provinces that have anti-LGBT zones earlier this month, warning that it would withhold $150 million in aid if the zones were not revoked.

The funding comes from the React-EU program, which was meant to aid in recovery efforts. Poland has received more than 1.5 billion euros, equivalent to $1.78 billion, in aid.

The letters followed a formal notice from the commission published in July that warned it would take legal action against Hungary and Poland for its anti-LGBT policies.

Council members in Podkarpackie passed a new resolution titled “Podkarpackie as a region of well-established tolerance,” and individuals in Lubelskie approved a measure dubbed “On the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms,” according to Reuters.

The resolution in Lubelskie said “We see a special need to protect schools and families and the right of every person to self-determination,” adding “At the same time, we support the right of parents to raise their children according to their beliefs,” according to the news wire.

The Hill reached out to the European Commission for comment.

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