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Polish Ex-President Walesa Won’t Apologize for Anti-Gay Remarks

March 4 (Bloomberg) -- Lech Walesa, a former Polish president and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, said he won’t apologize for his comments that homosexuals in parliament should sit behind a wall.

“No minority should climb all over the majority” and gay deputies shouldn’t sit “somewhere at the front,” Walesa, who led the Solidarity labor movement that helped bring down communism in Poland, said in an interview with TVN24 television channel on March 1. Ruling party and opposition politicians, including his son Jaroslaw, criticized the comment.

“I won’t apologize to anybody,” Walesa said in an interview with Radio Zet today. “All I wanted to say is that these minorities shouldn’t install their views on the majority. I’m fed up with their flaunting.”

Poland, which joined the European Union in 2004, has struggled with issues as gay rights, abortion and the role of the church in public life. The first openly gay and transgender lawmakers were elected in the 2011 elections. Last month parliament rejected proposals to introduce civil partnerships.

“These words should never be said,” Jaroslaw Walesa, a deputy in the European Parliament representing the Civic Platform party of Prime Minister Donald Tusk, said in an interview with Radio RMF today. “I was shocked to hear what he said about homosexuals, I disagree with him and will need talk to him.”

Walesa, a devout Roman Catholic and a father of eight, was Poland’s first democratically-elected president after communism.

To contact the reporters on this story: Pawel Kozlowski in Warsaw at pkozlowski@bloomberg.net; Piotr Bujnicki in Warsaw at pbujnicki@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net

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