Democracy icon Lech Walesa sparks storm in Poland with anti-gay remarks

Lech Walesa, the democracy icon and Nobel peace prize winner, has sparked controversy and outrage in Poland by saying homosexuals have no right to a prominent role in politics and that as a minority they need to "adjust to smaller things" in society.

Some commentators are suggesting that Walesa has irreparably harmed his democratic credentials and his legacy. He was the leading figure in Poland's successful democracy struggle against communism.

Walesa said Friday in a television interview that he believes gays have no right to sit on the front benches in parliament and if there at all should sit in the back, "or even behind a wall."

He said: "they have to know that they are a minority and adjust to smaller things, and not rise to the greatest heights."