'There shouldn't be any gays or deviations': Polish towns go LGBT free

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By Sinead Barry  with Reuters
A banner which reads 'Is this love?' is pictured in Swidnik, Poland
A banner which reads 'Is this love?' is pictured in Swidnik, Poland   -  Copyright  REUTERS/Robert Furmanczuk

"It is very good that the local government has passed it and that they will fight the ideology. There shouldn't be any gays or other deviations, everything should be normal."

They were the words of Miroslaw Rutkowski, an 88-year-old pensioner from Swidnik, a small town in rural Poland.

The community, like a handful of other areas in Conservative rural Poland, issued a statement to reject what it viewed as the spread of LGBT ideology. 

Views such as Rutkowski's have been widely aired in parts of the country ahead of European elections this weekend. 

The ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS) have used this anti-LGBT sentiment as leverage for the upcoming poll.

LGBT rights are depicted in their campaigns as dangerous foreign ideas that embody the kind of Western liberalism that the party seeks to resist.

The PiS, says leader Kaczynski, are the "only party that gives a 100% guarantee that our values will be protected”.

Another target of the PiS is the new sexual education programme based on the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines.

PiS politicians have claimed that the education initiative will "sexualise children".

Sexual education teachers in Swidnik has reiterated the significance of traditional values in rural Poland.

"Among the goals, the homosexual community wants to achieve is child adoption by people in partnerships, or whatever you may call such relationships. This is an attack on the idea of the traditional family upheld by our society," she told Reuters.

PiS's campaign has been criticised by LGBT activist Bartosz Straszewsk who says "PiS needs an enemy to scare people. Before it was immigrants, now it is the LGBT community".