July 13, 2020 at 12:07 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Poland’s anti-LGBTQ president re-elected
Polish President Andrzej Duda

The anti-LGBTQ president of Poland won re-election on Sunday.

The Associated Press reported Andrzej Duda defeated Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski by a 51.2-48.8 percent margin. The two men ran against each other in a runoff because they didn’t receive a majority of the vote in the first-round of Poland’s presidential election that took place on June 28.

Activists have sharply criticized Duda — head of Poland’s conservative Law and Justice party — over his anti-LGBTQ rhetoric.

Duda last month said LGBTQ “ideology” is more harmful than communism. Justyna Nakielska of Kampania Przeciw Homofobii, a Polish LGBTQ advocacy group, told the Washington Blade last month noted the Law and Justice party ahead of last October’s parliamentary elections described LGBTQ Poles as “a threat to the family” and said they “want to sexualize children.”

Duda on June 24 met with President Trump at the White House.

“As there is a feeling of huge disappointment we need to remember that almost half of Polish voters said firmly no to the hatred campaign waged by Duda, and showed they are in favor of a democratic, modern and open Poland,” Magdalena Świder of Kampania Przeciw Homofobii, a Polish LGBTQ advocacy group, told the Washington Blade on Tuesday in a statement. “We will keep on fighting, as the community needs us. All the incitement to hate by president Duda resulted in many instances of LGBT people being physically attacked or their homes being marked with homophobic vandalism, so our main goal is to press for protection of sexual orientation and gender identity to be included in the hate crime and hate speech legislation.”

Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David echoed Świder in his own statement.

“President Andrezj Duda’s reelection after running on a virulently anti-LGBTQ election platform is confirmation that the fight for LGBTQ rights and freedoms is far from over,” said David. “However, Duda’s narrow victory demonstrates that there are a great number of Polish people who do not support his views, including his cruel campaign pledge to ban same-sex couples from adopting children that need loving homes, and his extreme anti-LGBTQ rhetoric.”

“Despite Duda’s victory, LGBTQ advocates will continue to fight in Poland and elsewhere for the basic respect and dignity that our community deserves,” he added.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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