Nieuwegein drops Polish sister city over anti-LGBT policies

Nieuwegein is officially breaking ties with its Polish sister city of Pulawy. This follows Pulaway joining some 30 percent of municipalities in Poland in implementing so-called "gay-free zones" - areas in which people from the LGTBQ community are not allowed to speak about their orientation, NOS reports.

"Establishing those gay-free zones is a serious matter and our city council has made a very clear statement: this is not acceptable," Nieuwegein alderman Marieke Schouten said. The city council unanimously opposed the introduction of these zones, and therefore decided to break ties with Pulawy. 

According to Schouten, Nieuwegein sands for inclusivity. "We are a rainbow city," she said. "And we are both part of Europe, in which we believe that you can be whoever you are, regardless of your orientation, in public space. That does not include such a gay-free zone." 

The municipality of Nieuwegein tried to talk to its Pulaway counterpart, but received no response, Schouten said. Though local politicians did tell Polish media that "Nieuwegein should not interfere in Polish politics", according to the broadcaster. "We therefore hope that the people concerned, who belong to the LGBTQ community in Poland, feel supported by us," Schouten said.