Quantcast

Astoria gay activist angry at Polish prez’s speech

By Philip Newman and Jeremy Walsh

“We are hoping that we can resolve this without litigation,” said Brendan Fay, who emigrated from Ireland in 1984 and is best known in Queens for helping found the All-Inclusive St. Patrick's Parade in Sunnyside in 2000. Fay said he expected to meet with Polish officials Tuesday night after press time.Fay appeared at a news conference in Manhattan Monday with husband Tom Moulton and representatives from Human Rights Watch and Polish gay rights groups to condemn the speech and the use of the couple's wedding footage, which they said was aired without their consent.The 49-year-old Fay is a documentary filmmaker, while Moulton, 50, is a pediatric oncologist at a Bronx hospital.Fay said he learned Polish President Lech Kaczynski had aired footage of their Toronto nuptials in his March 17 speech when they were inundated with calls from the Polish media the next morning.Fay and his supporters have demanded an apology from Kaczynski, who told his TV audience that the European Union's Charter of Fundamental Rights, part of the proposed Lisbon Treaty, could legalize same-sex marriage in Poland, a heavily Roman Catholic nation.Ratifying the treaty, Kaczynski said, would be “against the universally accepted moral order in Poland and force our country to introduce an institution in conflict with the moral convictions of the decided majority of our country,” the British newspaper the Telegraph reported Kaczynski as saying.”Both the content of the speech and the choice of videos used are clear signs of ignorance, homophobia and xenophobia,” said Daniel Domagala of the Campaign Against Homophobia in Poland.”The footage from their wedding was used to promote hatred and intolerance in our country,” Domagala told reporters at the Human Rights Watch headquarters in Manhattan.”We were disappointed that someone would use our wedding images to spread intolerance,” Fay said.Fay said that although they had yet to hear from any official Polish government official, “we have been heartened by the many expressions of comfort and well-wishes from many people, including many Polish people.”Poland has faced criticism from other European countries and gay rights groups over its elected officials' stance on homosexuality. In April 2007, the European Parliament called on Polish leaders to stop encouraging discrimination against homosexuals.Reach reporters Philip Newman and Jeremy Walsh at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

More from Around New York