A court in Poland yesterday dismissed a case against an anti-LGBT activist who said that gay couples want to adopt children in order to rape them. She had argued that the case should be thrown out because the complainants could not prove they were gay, and therefore defamed by her remarks.
In a session closed to the media and public due to coronavirus restrictions, the court considered the case against Kaja Godek, who is best known as the force behind efforts to ban abortion. Speaking last year, Godek had said that, when tackling paedophilia in the Catholic church, people “should concentrate on curbing the influence of the homolobby”.
“Pederasty is a first step towards pedophilia,” she told Polsat News. “Now homosexuals want to adopt kids. Why? Because they want to abuse and rape them, those are the facts.”
– Walka z pedofilią w kościele i w każdym środowisku, to musi być przede wszystkim ograniczenie homolobby – mówiła @GodekKaja @Konfederacja_ w @SniadaniewPN – Teraz geje chcą adoptować dzieci, bo chcą jest molestować i gwałcić, takie są fakty – dodała. https://t.co/p1z6Q8aW9V pic.twitter.com/1aalXuwL1N
— PolsatNews.pl (@PolsatNewsPL) May 19, 2019
In response, seven men sued her for criminal defamation, which carries a prison sentence of up to one year. But Godek’s lawyer argued that the case should be dismissed because the complainants could not prove they are gay.
“They have to prove their connection to my statement,” Godek told Polsat this week. “The burden of proof lies with them. I don’t know how to prove you are gay. That’s not my problem.”
On Wednesday, a judge at the District Court for Warsaw Praga-Północ, Małgorzata Nowik, accepted Godek’s arguments, reports Wirtualna Polska. She also found that there was no evidence that Godek directly knew the people who accused her of defaming them. The case was held without the public or media present due to coronavirus restrictions.
A representative of the Centre for Monitoring Racist and Xenophobic Activities, Konrad Dulkowski, who participated in the court proceedings, called the judge’s decision “absurd and outrageous”. He promised that an appeal would be lodged against the ruling, and that they would even pursue the case up to the European Court of Human Rights.
“This ruling shows that LGBT people have virtually no way to defend their dignity anymore,” said Dulkowski, who argued that there are earlier rulings which show that someone does not have to know individual members of a group to have criminally defamed them.
Godek, however, celebrated her victory as “confirming freedom of speech”. Wednesday’s ruling:
proves that pointing to the relationship between paedophilia and homosexuality is not a crime. The LGBT community would like to ensure that the illnesses they exhibit are only glorified and affirmed. The court’s decision shows that sexual preferences can also be criticised
Godek is well known for her anti-LGBT activism, which has resulted in her being banned from Twitter. Last year, she stood as a candidate for the far-right Confederation party. She has also become the face of Poland’s movement to ban abortion and sex education in schools.
On the same day as the ruling in Godek’s case, prosecutors in the same Warsaw-Praga District decided to bring charges against a manager at IKEA for violating the religious rights of an employee, who was last year fired for making homophobic remarks, including quoting biblical passages suggesting that gay people deserve to be killed.
Earlier this year, a court in Wrocław dismissed a lawsuit against the organisers of an anti-LGBT campaign that portrays homosexuals as paedophiles. The judge found that the activity had an “informative”, “educational” purpose and helped raise awareness of paedophilia.
This month, Poland was ranked as the worst place in the European Union for LGBT people. ILGA-Europe, the group behind the index, noted that, as well as hostility stoked by the ruling party and church, LGBT people face various difficulties in the Polish legal system.
Main image credit: Slawomir Kaminski / Agencja Gazeta