Polish opposition leader Robert Biedroń symbolically wed his partner, Krysztof Śmiszek, during a theatrical performance to protest the country’s lack of marriage equality. The two men, politicians from The Left (Lewica) party, have been together for 23 years.
Poland is considered the worst country in Europe for LGBTQ+ rights.
The video features some of Poland’s biggest and most visible LGBTQ politicians, celebrities and activists.
“I performed hundreds of weddings as mayor of Słupsk, but this is the first time I’ve stood on the other side,” Biedroń said during the ceremony. “It’s a beautiful feeling that needs to be shared. That’s why we should do everything so that two adults can experience a wedding whenever they want. Because love is love.”
The ceremony was part of a play, Spartacus: Love in the Time of Cholera, that looks at the difficult situation queer people in the country face. Each performance ends with the wedding of a non-heterosexual couple.
The actress who performs the ceremony uses all the language used in a traditional wedding, but alters the end, saying instead, “I declare that contrary to the regulations in force in the Republic of Poland, the marriage of [the couple’s names] has been concluded.”
Many couples invited to participate treat the ceremony seriously, inviting their friends to witness their union.
Biedroń’s party supports marriage equality. Queer people regularly protest the country’s anti-LGBTQ+ laws in creative and impactful ways to build support for civil rights laws.
In 2020, a Polish gay couple went to self-declared “LGBT-free zones” in their country to hand out rainbow face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic, hoping to promote tolerance.
“What a wedding!” Śmieszek tweeted after the event.. “There were nerves and emotions. But there was also anger that in 2023, in the middle of Europe, two people who love each other are not recognized by their country…That instead of respect and dignity, hundreds of thousands of people in Poland receive contempt.”
“We can change this on 15 October!” he declared, referring to the upcoming parliamentary elections. “Let’s vote for respect, dignity, and equality. I won’t rest until we achieve this normality!”
Śmieszek’s party is the second-largest opposition group. The biggest, the centrist Civic Platform, supports civil unions for LGBTQ+ people.