Dutch city cuts ties with Polish twin town for creating 'gay-free zone'

A Dutch city has cut ties with its twinned town in Poland for an ‘LGBT-free zone’ in its municipality.

Nieuwegein’s councillors voted 26-1 to ‘unfriend’ Puławy after 21 years of official twinning.

Puławy joined an estimated 30 per cent of local authorities in the country to have passed resolutions against ‘LGBT and gender ideology’.

While they are widely seen as unenforceable and have been declared void by some regional courts, activists say they signal a targeted effort to make LGBT residents feel unwanted.

Poland’s president, Andrzej Duda, was re-elected last week after promising to ‘defend children from LGBT ideology’ and oppose gay marriage or adoption by gay couples.

He has previously described LGBT expressions as part of a ‘foreign ideology’, comments which have been echoed by senior church figures and dozens of officials from the Law and Justice Party (PiS) he is associated with.

Nieuwegen’s alderman, Marieke Schouten, marked her council’s decision by sticking rainbow flags over the Polish town’s name on entry signs around the Dutch town.

She told Dutch broadcaster RTV Utrecht: ‘This is a statement. Gay-free zones are not done. Everybody is welcome in our town.

‘It doesn’t matter who you are, what colour skin you have, what you believe in or what your sexual orientation is.’

Nieuwegen’s mayor reportedly expressed concerns in a letter to Puławy in March but was ignored.

The president of the Polish city’s council told another Dutch broadcaster, RTL Nederland: ‘Poland is Poland with its own identity, its own history and its own ideas.

‘This is why we believe that partner municipalities should not interfere with our resolutions.’

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