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Polish president vetoes Gender Accordance Act

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 03.10.2015 13:02
President of Poland Andrzej Duda has declined to sign the Gender Accordance Act that was passed in the country's lower and upper houses of parliament this summer.
President Andrzej Duda. Photo: PAP/Grzegorz MomotPresident Andrzej Duda. Photo: PAP/Grzegorz Momot

The legislation is designed to make it easier for citizens to officially change the gender listed on birth certificates and other documents.

At present, Poles who feel that the gender listed on their birth certificate is at odds with their identity must sue their parents.

The new legislation, which was considered a breakthrough for Poland's transgender community, implements a special gender recognition court session, in which, among other factors, statements from independent psychologists or sexologists must be provided.

President Duda, who was sworn into power in August, was formerly a member of the conservative opposition party Law and Justice. Critics say that although he has given up his party membership, he consistently supports his former party in the run-up to parliamentary elections on 25 October.

Gender studies and so-called 'gender ideology' have been vehemently criticised by both Law and Justice and the Church in recent years.

The Gender Accordance Act is the first piece of legislation that President Duda has refused to sign.

However, when the current government, which is led by the liberal Civic Platform party, came to power in 2007, the then president Lech Kaczyński (himself formerly of Law and Justice), regularly declined to sign legislation.

The lower house of parliament can overturn the president's veto if it obtains a three-fifths majority vote in the presence of at least half all serving MPs. (nh/rk)

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