BRENDAN Fay, the Drogheda-born, New York-based Irish gay activist, was startled to learn that Polish President Lech Kaczynski had used Fay's wedding photo to his American born partner Dr. Tom Moulton during a presidential address to the nation last week.With a Polish network broadcasting a photo of the couple's marriage certificate, the president warned that adopting the new EU constitutional treaty could open the door to same-sex marriage in Poland. "Such a move would be 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."My initial reaction was one of surprise and shock," Fay, who is a co-founder of the inclusive St. Patrick's Day Parade in Queens, told the Irish Voice. "I started getting calls from Polish immigrants who translated what the president had said and my reaction was, what an insult."Fay submitted his complaint to the Polish Consulate in New York on Tuesday. "We want to avoid a court case which is why we've given the consul a letter for the president in which we request a meeting with him together with me and my partner," said Fay.Fay also met with journalists at the Human Rights Watch headquarters in the Empire State Building on Monday. Director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Program Scott Long told the Irish Voice, "Poland has a long tradition of fighting against repression, which is why Lech Kaczynski should apologize to the representatives of sexual minorities in Poland for using the wedding photos of a gay couple to sow homophobia."Well-known New York lawyer and former director of the New York branch of the American Civil Liberties Union Norman Siegel called for the New York mayor and governor as well as leaders of the European Union to distance themselves from the statements of the Polish president. "It would be good for the president to keep in mind that he is the head of a country in which at least two million homosexual people live. We are hopeful that he is able to overcome his personal prejudices and stand in guard of an open and tolerant Polish Republic" said Siegel. Bemused to find himself embroiled in a thorny debate an ocean away, Fay admitted that he was frustrated to hear that images from such a joyous day were used to spread intolerance. "We would never have agreed to permit our photographs as part of a homophobic campaign," he added.The couple was legally married in Canada in 2003. Fay and his spouse Moulton, a pediatric oncologist at a Bronx hospital, mentioned the possibility of taking legal action against the president but added that "we hope to resolve this without litigation."
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