Polish mayor tries to make amends for other town’s misstep

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — A Polish mayor is trying to make amends with a French community that broke formal ties with another Polish town because the latter adopted a declaration against “LGBT ideology.”

In a letter to the French municipality of Saint-Jean-de-Braye, Wlodawa Mayor Wieslaw Muszynski offered a twinning agreement to replace the one it suspended with the other Polish town, arguing that most Poles are “open and respectful people.”

“Not all towns are homophobic,” he wrote, in a letter posted online late Wednesday

Last week, Saint-Jean-de-Braye in central France took the rare step of suspending 25-year official ties with the south-eastern Polish town of Tuchow.

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French municipal officials expressed outrage at a declaration adopted last year that Tuchow was an area “free of LGBT ideology.” The declaration was backed by local councilors from Poland’s governing conservative Law and Justice party.

Wlodawa’s Mayor Muszynski wrote that “as a Pole and a European” he wanted to erase the bad impression that prompted the French community’s move.

Wlodawa in eastern Poland, a municipality since the 16th century, is on the border with Ukraine and Belarus and has a long tradition of tolerance and cultural inclusiveness.

Tuchow was among other towns in south-eastern Poland that adopted the declaration on “LGBT ideology,” saying they wanted to defend themselves against “radicals … who attack freedom of speech, childhood innocence, the authority of family and school and the freedom of businesspeople.”

The declaration came in reaction to Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, an opposition politician, declaring the capital city supportive of the LGBT community and its rights.

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