Polish opposition shows rainbow LGBT solidarity at president's swearing-in

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WARSAW (Reuters) - Polish opposition members of parliament on Thursday formed a rainbow with their outfits at President Andrzej Duda’s swearing-in in solidarity with the LGBT community after he was accused of running a campaign laced with homophobic rhetoric.

Duda, an ally of the ruling nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party, argued ahead of the July vote that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people “are not people, it’s an ideology”. His words were condemned by the opposition and members of the international community.

The MPs, from Poland’s “Left” grouping, wore rainbow masks and outfits in shades of the rainbow, sitting in rows, as Duda was sworn in on Thursday in the lower house of parliament, the Sejm. They also posed in and outside parliament with rainbow and white and red Polish flags.

“We wanted to remind President Andrzej Duda that ... in the constitution there is a guarantee of equality for all,” Left MP Anna Maria Zukowska said.

“We don’t want a similar situation during his next term as there was during his campaign, when the president dehumanized LGBT people by denying them the right to be people.”

PiS has argued that LGBT rights are part of an invasive foreign ideology that undermines Polish values and the traditional family.

In his swearing-in speech, Duda reiterated his pledge to keep “family as the foundation stone of society ... as our most precious good.”

A spokeswoman for PiS could not immediately be reached for comment.

Some Polish towns have been told they will lose European Union funding after declaring themselves “free of LGBT ideology”.

Reporting by Joanna Plucinska; Editing by Janet Lawrence