Equality March in Krakow, Poland, 2021. (NurPhoto/ Beata Zawrzel)
Poland’s highest court has ruled that it is in line with the country’s constitution to recognise foreign same-sex marriages.
Poland has become increasingly hostile towards the queer community in recent years, but on Thursday (3 November), the country’s highest court – the Supreme Administrative Court of the Republic of Poland – handed down a rare judgement in favour of LGBTQ+ rights.
Despite huge public support for the legal recognition of same-sex couples, Poland remains one of six EU countries where same-sex couples are unable to marry or register civil unions.
According to Notes From Poland, though article 18 Poland’s constitution describes “marriage as a union of a man and a woman”, the court ruled: “Article 18 of the constitution cannot in itself constitute an obstacle to transcribing a foreign marriage certificate if the institution of marriage as a union of persons of the same sex was provided for in the domestic [legal] order.”
It noted that although “at present the Polish legislature has not decided to introduce such solutions”, “the provision of the constitution in question does not prohibit the statutory regulation of same-sex unions”.
The case was brought to the court by Polish influencers Jakub Kwieciński and Dawid Mycek, a gay couple who have been fighting for five years to have their marriage recognised in Poland after tying the knot in Portugal.
The court did not accept Kwieciński and Mycek’s appeal, and therefore did not rule on their specific case, but the judgement is still monumental. Opponents of same-sex unions in Poland have long argued that the constitution prohibits them, but it has now been proved that this is not the case.
Responding to the judgement, the couple said in a social media post that the judgement “debunks the myth that has been repeated by the right for years”, adding: “If you ever hear [justice minister Zbigniew] Ziobro or [education minister Przemysław] Czarnek…. saying that our constitution prohibits same-sex marriage, know that they are lying. As of today we have it in writing.”
Naczelny Sąd Administracyjny na naszej rozprawie ostatecznie stwierdził, że Konstytucja RP nie zabrania małżeństw jednopłciowych. To znaczy, że @ZiobroPL, @CzarnekP i inni przez lata mówili w tym temacie nieprawdę. Dziś mamy to na piśmie. pic.twitter.com/rw1YZnq5rf
— Jakub & Dawid (@JakubiDawid) November 3, 2022
The court’s ruling represents a rare win for LGBTQ+ people in Poland, with president Andrzej Duda having ensured that the country is among the most homophobic countries in Europe, according to equality rights rankings.
Just two months ago, a teenager was even arrested for simply writing “leave LGBTQ+ people alone” on a pavement in chalk.