A video has emerged showing the campaign chief of the far-right Confederation (Konfederacja) party – which is currently third in the polls and could play a role in forming Poland’s next government – pledging that, if his movement comes to power, they will create a register of gay people in order to keep them away from children.
A spokeswoman for Confederation says the remarks in the video – which come from 2014 – do not represent the party’s current policy and that in any case they have been “misunderstood”.
The clip, which has been widely shared on social media this week, shows television news footage of Witold Tumanowicz – Confederation’s campaign chief and one of its top election candidates – addressing a rally when he was a candidate in European elections for the National Movement (Ruch Narodowy).
The National Movement is one of the far-right and libertarian groups that came together in 2018 to form Confederation. In elections the following year, Tumanowicz was also one Confederation’s leading candidates, though he failed to win a seat in parliament
Szokujący postulat szefa sztabu Konfederacji, Witolda Tumanowicza. Konfederata w obraźliwych słowach oznajmia, że chciałby „rejestrować” homoseksualistów, w celu uniemożliwiania im kontaktu z dziećmi, oraz jak można się domyślić – by ich po prostu piętnować. Co dalej? Obozy… pic.twitter.com/BBuh5v9XAV
— Krzysztof Łuksza (@krz_luksza) August 29, 2023
In the video, he is seen saying: “After the National Movement comes to power, we will register not only [homosexual] relationships but also individual faggots [pedały] so that none of them has the right to raise a child, be a school teacher, or even come close to any child.”
In a longer version of the clip – which comes from state broadcaster TVP – Tumanowicz was shown later confirming his belief that, if same-sex couples want the right to have their relationships recognised, there should also be a register for homosexuals “which would deprive them of the right to raise children”.
“People who have homosexual tendencies should not have contact with children, because it has a bad effect on their upbringing,” he added.
Już nie tylko rejestracja gejów. Po wyborach Konfederacja chce kontrolować nauczycieli https://t.co/TcMfecXaeh
— naTemat (@natematpl) September 1, 2023
Tumanowicz has not commented this week on the clip, but a spokeswoman for Confederation, Anna Bryłka, told news website Onet that “nothing like that [a register for gay people] will happen. As far as I know, his words were misunderstood and he didn’t have that [such a register] in mind”.
Senior figures in Confederation, however, have a long history of extreme anti-LGBT statements. In 2019, one of the party’s leaders, Grzegorz Braun, called for homosexuality to be criminalised and “sodomites sent to prison”.
In the same interview, Braun – who has a long history of spreading Jewish conspiracy theories – claimed that “Jew-Masons” were using “sodomites” as part of their attempt to bring about a “world revolution”.
In the same year, Sławomir Mentzen, who is now one of Confederation’s main leaders, said that the party’s five policies were: “We don’t want Jews, homosexuals, abortion, taxes and the European Union.” He has since argued that those words were taken out of context.
However, later in 2019, after Confederation won seats in parliament for the first time, another of its leaders, Janusz Korwin-Mikke, said that it would seek to introduce a law “banning LGBT”. Korwin-Mikke also warned that “if this homo propaganda” from LGBT groups continues, “there will be pogroms” against them.
Earlier this week, Confederation announced that another of its candidates in October’s elections would be Samuela Górska, a former reality TV star who said in 2021 – in a video broadcast by the party – that she supports them because she “does not want Jewry and LGBT in Poland”.
Profil Konfederacji usunął wczorajszy wpis. Wpis z wypowiedzią sympatyczki, gdzie padły słowa: „Nie chcę LGBT, nie chcę żydostwa. Tylko Konfederacja zapewni normalność”.
Na szczęście spodziewałem się takiego ruchu i zapisałem filmik. Udostępniajcie. pic.twitter.com/5Vyu8vhJxP
— Koroluk (@KorolukM) July 18, 2021
Confederation has risen rapidly in the polls over the last year, from support averaging 5.5% in August 2022 to 10.2% in the same month this year, according to poll aggregating website ewybory.eu.
That rise has come after the party began to play down its more extreme positions – for example on the Ukraine war and Ukrainian refugees – and instead focus on its economic libertarianism, which has proved particularly popular among young Poles.
Should the party win over 10% in October’s elections, it is possible that neither the current ruling national-conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party nor a coalition of the centrist and left-wing opposition would be able to form a government without some kind of deal with Confederation.
Notes from Poland is run by a small editorial team and published by an independent, non-profit foundation that is funded through donations from our readers. We cannot do what we do without your support.
Main image credit: TVP (screenshot)
Daniel Tilles is editor-in-chief of Notes from Poland. He has written on Polish affairs for a wide range of publications, including Foreign Policy, POLITICO Europe, EUobserver and Dziennik Gazeta Prawna.