WARSAW, Poland – A gay New York man said Wednesday he has filed a complaint against the Polish president for using images of him and his partner in a national speech to warn against homosexual marriage.
A photograph of Brendan Fay's wedding with his partner Tom Moulton was woven into President Lech Kaczynski's televised address to the nation Monday night.
The picture, and a copy of the couple's marriage certificate, was shown as the president warned against the dangers of adopting the EU's new treaty and its Charter of Fundamental Rights, which Kaczynski says could open the door to same-sex marriage in Poland.
"An article of the charter, due to no clear definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman, may go 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," Kaczynski said as the images flashed across the screen.
It was not immediately clear how the images were obtained.
Fay said that Polish immigrants and reporters began calling him on Tuesday, asking how he felt about having his image used in the address.
"My initial reaction was one of surprise and shock really," said Fay, a longtime gay activist who is a co-founder of the All Inclusive St. Patrick's Day Parade in Queens, New York.
"I started getting translations of the phrase the president used as the image appeared... My reaction was just really... I thought, oh my God, what an insult... Tom and I are just a couple, like any other couple around the world."
Fay, a documentary filmmaker who was born in Ireland but is now a New York resident, said he submitted his complaint to the Polish consulate in New York on Tuesday.
"Our images clearly were being used in a campaign by the president of Poland against lesbian and gay persons, and fostering intolerance and fear among the people of Poland," he said on Wednesday.
Moulton, who is a pediatric oncologist and met Fay at Sunday Mass, said EU countries that permit same-sex marriage haven't suffered from it.
"It has not brought down their economy, it hasn't destroyed any of the heterosexual marriages... it hasn't brought down the families. If anything, it has strengthened the families," Moulton said.
There is little support for same-sex marriage in Poland, a deeply Catholic country which joined the European Union in 2004. The Polish constitution states that marriage is only between a man and a woman.
As mayor of Warsaw, Kaczynski refused to grant parade permits for gay rights marches, while his twin brother, former prime minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, has said "it's not in the interest of any society to increase the number of homosexuals."