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Town council respond to concerns that Polish twin town is ‘anti-gay’

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Reassurance has been offered about Frome’s twinning with Polish town,  Rabka-Zdrój, following concerns that it had adopted an anti-LGBTQ policy.

The county of Nowy Targ in Poland, where Rabka-Zdrój is situated, recently passed an anti-LGBTQ resolution declaring itself to be a “gay-free zone”.

The news prompted local resident, Kit Sadgrove, to call on Frome Town Council to end its twinning with the Polish town in support of the LGBTQ community.

However, following an investigation by Frome Town Council and the Twinning Association, Rabka Council has confirmed that whilst they are in the region of Nowy Targ, they have not adopted the anti-LGBTQ resolution in the town itself.

Whilst welcoming the news, Kit says that the town of Rabka should do more to make it clear where it stands regarding its support of the LGBTQ community.

Kit told Frome Times, “That’s not a bad response. But if I have a reservation it’s the fact that if you don’t make a positive statement in support of sexual orientation, it means that you are not necessarily in favour of it and supporting people’s rights to their own sexual orientation.

“I think we should continue to press Rabka for a statement that actively supports gay rights.”

In response to the initial concerns a spokesperson for the town council said, “Last month Frome Town Council was made aware that the county of Nowy Targ in Poland had passed a county wide anti-LGBTQ resolution.  As twin town Rabka-Zdrój resides within this county, an immediate investigation was launched to determine whether Rabka had adopted this resolution.

“FTC has been working  closely with the Twinning Association, and the other twin towns, Murrhardt and Château-Gontier, and twinning community representatives at Rabka have been contacted. They have confirmed that while they fall into the region, the Rabka Council have not adopted these measures within the town of Rabka.”  

Chairman of the Twinning Association, Justin Worringham said,  “The Twinning Association works closely with the town council on matters concerning our twin towns. I can confirm however that the council of Rabka-Zdrój has not passed any such anti-LGBTQ resolution itself. 

“We value the relationship that we have built up with Rabka-Zdrój  over the last 10 years, together with our partner towns in France and Germany, and value the contribution to Frome made by our Polish residents.”

Mayor of Frome, cllr Anita Collier said,  “It’s part of FTC’s strategy to work with our twin towns, to utilise best practise across the board for the benefit of the towns. Frome Town Council is resolutely committed to equal opportunities and any affiliation we have needs to adopt this too. 

“Working with the Twinning Association, we will be keeping a close eye on any developments with the other twin towns and should we discover that there is systemic homophobia and issues with gender identity within the administration at Rabka, we would then have to look at the future of the relationship.”

In 2016 Frome Town Council publicly adopted their anti-hate statement which deplores and condemns hate incidents and hate crimes. Their statement affirms that such acts are totally unacceptable and undermine tolerance and diversity – you can find the statement here: www.frome towncouncil.gov.uk/frome-town-council-adopts-anti-hate-statement/

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