Polish Youtubers Jakub and Dawid announced that they lost their court case to get their marriage recognised by the Polish authorities.
Last year, the couple married in Portugal. When they wanted their marriage to be recognised in Poland, the Polish authorities denied their request since same-sex marriage is not recognised by the Polish law.
After the ruling of the European Court of Justice in June last year in the ‘Coman v. Romania’-case, the couple decided to bring their case before the local court. The Warsaw Administrative Court now ruled that there are no legal grounds within the Polish law to get their marriage recognised.
The Network of European LGBTIQ Families Association (Nelfa) reacts dissapointed: “The very positive judgement before the EU Court of Justice last summer is not the end of our road. NELFA will work tirelessly for more equality!”
According to political scientist Rémy Bonny this ruling is not surprising. Bonny is a specialist in LGBT+ Politics in Central and Eastern Europe.
“Within the Polish legal system Administrative Courts are one of the lowest in the hierarchy. Considering the current populist and conservative political situation in Poland, it does not surprise me that the court does not dare to take a bold statement.”
“The current Law & Justice (PiS)-government tried to demolish the rule of law in Poland in the last few years. Within several courts they lowered the age of retirement, so they could change independent judges to PiS-affiliated judges. Fortunately – under pressure of the EU – the government announced last month that they will draw back from some of the reforms. What that exactly means is not clear yet.”
Despite the political atmosphere, the couple had little legal grounds for their case, according to Bonny. “The European Court of Justice Ruling could not be reffered to in this case, because the contents of this case was inherently different. In the Coman case, it was between a non-EU citizen and an EU-citizen married in Belgium against the Romanian authorities. The fact that an non-EU citizen was involved in the case was crucial to invoke the ‘Freedom of Movement of People’ within this case. The European judge explicitly mentioned that this judgement would not interfere in member states’ domestic debate on marriage equality.”
Homophobic political discourse
Polish government officials have given, in several occasions, homophobic comments the last months. “The Polish president announced on the Polish Independence Day that he would consider an (Russian-style) anti-propaganda law. Earlier, both the minister of internal affairs and the minister of defence criticised Pride Marches – calling them ‘Marches of Sodomites’ and even declaring that they would prosecute people with rainbow flags with a Polish eagle on them.”
Despite the political backlashes, the LGBT+ society also saw some positive changes in the last year in Poland – according to Bonny. “For the first time in Polish history Pride Marches in more than 20 cities were organised. Tens of thousands of people participated in these events. After the ruling by the European Court of Justice in the Coman Case, an opinion poll showed that 55% of the Poles think that their government should follow this judgement as well.”
The LGBT+ Community als wan a ruling last year. “After a copy center denied their services to an LGBT+ organisation, the Polish Supreme Court ruled that no person has the right to deny service to a person belonging to the LGBT+ community. But this was before the government changed the judges in the Supreme Court.”, Bonny concludes.
Rémy's comments were published by GayStarNews (English), Humen (Hungarian), Mannschaft (German) and BeOut (Dutch).