Two powerful Polish political figures
with opposing views on gay rights have died in a plane crash in
Russia, British gay website PinkNews.co.uk
Polish President Lech Alekander
Kaczynski and former Deputy Prime Minister Izabela Jaruga-Nowacka are
among the 87 people reportedly killed when a Polish Air Force plane
crashed while attempting to land near the city of Smolensk in Russia.
Polish media is reporting that officials do not expect to find any
Kaczynski's clashes with Polish gay
rights activists gained him international notoriety. As mayor of
Warsaw, he repeatedly banned gay pride parades from taking place in
the city, citing security concerns and an offense to public morals.
The 60-year-old Kaczynski was elected
president in 2005.
“If that kind of approach to sexual
life were to be promoted on a grand scale, the human race would
disappear,” Kaczynski said in 2007. “Imagine what grand changes
would occur in mores if the traditional links between men and women
were set aside.”
Jaruga-Nowacka, who served as Poland's
deputy prime minister between 2004 and 2005, criticized Kaczynski for
his anti-gay views.
At one officially banned Gay Pride event,
she told the crowd: “We are for democracy. We are for protection
of all human rights, not only for some groups who are in the majority
in Poland. All citizens have the right to choose their own way of
“I am here to express my protest
against the mayor's decision [to ban gay parades] which is a
violation of the Polish constitution and of civic rights. I am here
to show my respect for the Polish tradition of tolerance,” she
Juruga-Nowacka was widely criticized by
social conservatives for her support of gay rights.
The Polish delegation was en route to
mark the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre. Early
reports suggest the plane broke into pieces after getting caught in
the tops of trees.