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Heidi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 01:19 AM
Original message
BBC: Polish woman fined for gay abuse
Page last updated at 11:10 GMT, Friday, 7 August 2009 12:10 UK

A Polish court has banned a woman from publicly using derogatory terms like "queer" or "fag" to describe her young gay neighbour.

A judge in north-west Poland ruled the 44-year-old woman had infringed Ryszard Giersz's dignity by repeatedly verbally abusing him in public.

The woman, identified in court as Anna S, was also ordered to pay Mr Giersz damages of 15,000 zloty (3,100).

Polish gay rights groups have hailed the case as unprecedented.

An emotional Mr Giersz said he was very happy with Tuesday's verdict, adding that he may use the damages payment to buy a bigger flat away from his neighbour.

"I'm a normal person and I just want to live with my partner in peace," he told journalists after the court hearing. "The last six months have completely knocked us out."

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GodlyDemocrat Donating Member (388 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 01:24 AM
Response to Original message
1. There's a fine line between harassment and free speech
Of course, I come at this from an American point of view, where free speech is cherished, but legalities aside, at what point does free speech become harassment? I don't know the answer.
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Heidi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 01:30 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. If people threw stones at you when you stepped outside and you had to change jobs,
would you consider it harrassment? What if they threatened your life for daring to bring charges?

When the couple were out walking, people would call them names and even throw tomatoes and stones at them.

Mr Giersz eventually had to change his job and, when the 25-year-old took the case to court, he was warned by one man that should he win, he would be killed.

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GodlyDemocrat Donating Member (388 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 01:40 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Definitely
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 01:43 AM
Response to Original message
4. I hope he's got some kind of security plan. The article said
that he got death threats.
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Vidar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 01:44 AM
Response to Original message
5. Surprising for Poland.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 02:16 AM
Response to Original message
6. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
Chulanowa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 02:39 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. Welcome to DU
I hope you don't have any long-term investments here.
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deep1 Donating Member (252 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 03:10 AM
Response to Reply #7
9. You're too sensitive Chula..........
I'm a woman (last time I checked), so I can talk about women. I am also black, so I can talk about black folks.



Like I said, we don't know the whole story. Once you start fining people for speech, that crosses a line.
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Chulanowa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 04:31 AM
Response to Reply #9
11. Yes, but we have this thing called "reason"
what we have here is a man who has many witnesses testifying as to his harassment from this woman, and mistreatment from many others in the community.

And in this other corner, we have the woman who lost the case, saying that every single witness is lying, that she never said any such thing, and if she did, he deserved it.

Okay. We weren't there. But using the evidence presented to us, we can draw a perfectly logical conclusion - the woman is in fact guilty of harassment, and is simply getting that "sour grapes" thing down.

Just because there are two sides does not mean they are equally valid, deep1. At no point in your life will you ever be presented with a completely unbiased and fully informative story. Never.

so then. When we take what you are saying, and look at it analytically, what you are in fact saying is that we should not trust what mr. Giersz and his witnesses are saying, and we should spurn the court's judgment on the matter, because hey, there might very well be very valid reasons for Mrs. Anna S's abuse and harassment towards him.

I'm afraid not.

As for fining people for speech... She's fined for harassment and abuse. Get it right, please.
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Meldread Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 03:02 AM
Response to Reply #6
8. LOL. "Women hardly get bitchy for no reason." Wow, what a sexist statement.
Edited on Sat Aug-08-09 03:03 AM by Meldread
Wow, what a sexist statement.

I can assure you, knowing many women, they can definitely get bitchy for no reason. Just like anyone else. Of course, this isn't a case of bitchiness, it's a case of bigotry.

It can also be debated whether or not it strips away her right to free speech, although freedom generally ends where another persons freedom begins. People should be able to live their lives free of harassment, and it seems very likely that this woman was walking right up to - if not over - that line.
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deep1 Donating Member (252 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 03:45 AM
Response to Reply #6
10. yes my comments came out kind of brash.......
Edited on Sat Aug-08-09 03:53 AM by deep1
and I do apologize for coming straight off like a beep, but if he is truly being harassed by this woman and he did nothing wrong, then I support the man. I still don't think folks should be fined for verbal assault, it gets tricky.

I'm not a fat person, but lots of overweight people are harassed or verbally attacked everyday, it seems fat prejudice is acceptable.
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Meldread Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 04:39 AM
Response to Reply #10
12. There are many forms of prejudice that are acceptable by society, unfortunately.
Edited on Sat Aug-08-09 04:41 AM by Meldread
...and of course, I agree that my natural inclination here is to go, "What the hell? The woman is definitely a bigot, but we have to protect free speech."

But seeing as how I wasn't there, it's hard to say one way or another. I mean, it's one thing to yell "fagot" out the window of your car, to a total stranger on the street. It's something else entirely to continuously yell "fagot" at the same individual, on a nearly daily basis, or even weekly basis.

It's the same thing with the Klan and other such folks. They can hold their parades every so often, but it's something else entirely if they decide to camp outside one individuals house and taunt them every time they walk out the door.

It's walking the proverbial knife's edge. Obviously, in a truly free society anyone could do what they wanted, and yet in such a society that would mean there are individuals who would be LESS free than other individuals (primarily minority groups and the poor). So, we have to come up with some type of workable compromise that ensures the maximum amount of freedom for everyone, and the best and most equitable way to do that is to create a cut-off limit for freedom itself: your freedom ends where someone else's freedom begins.

This means that, while vulgar and bigoted behavior may be protected to an extent, there are limits to which it is protected. And one of those obvious limits I think would be harassment.
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JTFrog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 05:01 AM
Response to Reply #10
13. Almost like you got "bitchy" for no reason.
:eyes:

No, neither being a woman nor being black make it ok to stoop to the level of "bitch, bitchy, bitches".
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ThomCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 05:59 AM
Response to Original message
14. And, of course, she is claiming to be the victim
because she can't harass him and blame it on him. Her rights as a bigot have been infringed!

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LeftishBrit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 06:05 AM
Response to Original message
15. Good news (that she was fined, not that she did it)
Poland isn't exactly the most pro-gay-rights country in Europe, so that is definitely progress!
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