Polish activist refuses to apologise for remarks on Varadkar’s ‘perversion’

Kaja Godek is being sued by 16 LGBTI+ people over comments on the Taoiseach

Libel action was filed on (10th October) at the district court in Warsaw against Kaja Godek due to comments in a television discussion on May 30th following Ireland’s abortion referendum, in which she called Taoiseach Leo Varadkar a 'deviant'.

 

A leading anti-abortion campaigner in Poland says she will not apologise for referring to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s homosexuality as perversion, even if ordered to do so by a Warsaw court.

On Thursday Kaja Godek was sued by 16 members of Poland’s lesbian and gay community for television remarks last May, repeated in recent days, that she viewed Mr Varadkar’s homosexuality as a “perversion”.

Ms Godek has hit back at the civil suit against her, calling it “vengeance for my pro-life and pro-family stance”.

“I don’t know what this process is about, I didn’t get any documents so far,” she told The Irish Times.

If the case against her is successful, she could be ordered to apologise by buying advertising slots – at a cost of tens of thousands of zloty – on the private Polish television station where she made her remarks.

Asked if she would respect any court order to apologise, she told The Irish Times: “I won’t.”

Ms Godek is a leading anti-abortion campaigner and linked Ireland’s abortion referendum result to what she termed the “bizarre” sexual orientation of Mr Varadkar who, she said, flaunted “his perversion to the people”.

Asked if she meant all homosexuals were perverted, Ms Godek continued: “Yes, yes. If the prime minister of Ireland declares that he has a male sexual partner, if it is accepted as normal, it is monstrous that such a country should be defined as a Catholic country.”

In later remarks she described Mr Varadkar’s homosexuality as an “ailment”.

The Varadkar-Godek case has been a top story in Poland in recent days, prompting Ms Godek to repeat her claims.

On Thursday evening, she described the case as “rainbow totalitarianism”.

“Although theirs is not a seven- but a six-colour rainbow,” she added. “The blue has been removed because it is the colour of the Virgin Mary.”

Polish law

The Varadkar-Godek case has the backing of the LGBT “Love Does Not Exclude” organisation. It wants to flag – and force a court ruling on – how Polish law does not include homophobia in its definition of hate speech.

The case is part of a growing cultural battle in Poland between progressive and conservative forces on abortion and gay rights.

On Friday a court in the eastern city of Lublin overturned a ban on next Sunday’s “equality march” – the first in the city. The mayor cited public safety concerns as the reason for his ban, given homophobic nationalist groups are likely to protest against the gathering.

A court on Friday overturned his decision, saying it was “inadmissible to ban a march because of the reactions of opponents”.

March organiser Bartek Staszewski welcomed the ruling, saying the mayor was less concerned with a group’s constitutional right to march than political blowback at next weekend’s local elections.

Mr Staszewski said the reaction of the mayor was indicative of “political failure for the climate here in Lublin”.

“It is not the mayor’s job to stop an equality march,” he said, “but the homophobia that threatens it.”