WARSAW â€" Even as change spreads from such historically Catholic countries as Ireland and Mexico, same-sex marriage rights still look to be years away in Poland, home to a diehard traditional Catholicism that some say was even too pious for Pope Francis.
The 2015 Eurobarometer survery found that just 28% of Poles favored same-sex marriage, with 61% against. Still, Newsweek Polska reports this month on five gay and lesbian couples in Poland who have decided to publicly fight for their right to get married. All five couples were rejected by their local city administrations and later lost their appeals to city officials.
Krzysztof ÅoÅ› and Grzegorz Lepianka have been together for 13 years. "Having to explain why I want to get married with somebody that I love is itself an insult," Lepianka told Newsweek Polska. "What could be the reason after 13 years together, apart from the fact that I love him? We really love each other and we want the country to acknowledge it."
The couples have established the Coalition in Aid of Civil Partnerships and Marriage Equality, and are taking their cases to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
Indeed Italy, another country with a close relationship with the Catholic Church, also took a European path to finally recognize same-sex unions earlier this year â€" though that path began way back in 2002.
Still, change has been accelerating, and today only six EU countries do not have any laws allowing for same-sex marriage or civil partnerships: Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Poland. But in Poland, at least, the ball is now rolling.
A court in Spain usurps custody of the one-year-old boy living with his mother in the "deep" part of the Galicia region, forced to instead live with his father in the southern city of Marbella, which the judge says is "cosmopolitan" with good schools and medical care. Women's rights groups have taken up the mother's case.
A Spanish court has ordered the withdrawal of a mother's custody of her one-year-old boy because she is living in the countryside in northwestern Spain, where the judge says the child won't have "opportunities for the proper development of his personality."
The case, reported Monday in La Voz de Galicia, has sparked outrage from a women's rights association but has also set off reactions from politicians of different stripes across the province of Galicia, defending the values of rural life.
Judge María Belén Ureña Carazo, of the family court of Marbella, a city on the southern coast of 141,000 people, has ordered the toddler to stay with father who lives in the city rather than with his mother because she was living in "deep Galicia" where the child would lack opportunities to "grow up in a happy environment."
Front page of La Voz de Galicia - October 25, 2021
Front page of La Voz de Galicia - Monday 25 October, 2021
Better in a "cosmopolitan" city?
The judge said Marbella, where the father lives, was a "cosmopolitan city" with "a good hospital" as well as "all kinds of schools" and thus provided a better environment for the child to thrive.
The mother has submitted a formal complaint to the General Council of the Judiciary that the family court magistrate had acted with "absolute contempt," her lawyer told La Voz de Galicia.
The mother quickly accumulated support from local politicians and civic organizations. The Clara Campoamor association described the judge's arguments as offensive, intolerable and typical of "an ignorant person who has not traveled much."
The Xunta de Galicia, the regional government, has addressed the case, saying that any place in Galicia meets the conditions to educate a minor. The Socialist party politician Pablo Arangüena tweeted that "it would not hurt part of the judiciary to spend a summer in Galicia."
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