While Pope Francis has called for civil union laws, staunchly Catholic Poland does not recognize civil unions nor Dehnel’s overseas marriage to his husband.
While Dehnel has been in Berlin, things have gotten only more difficult for Poland’s LGBT community. Anti-gay rhetoric from the ruling Law and Justice party — alongside Catholic Church leaders in Poland and state-controlled media — has intensified. President Andrzej Duda has described the push for gay rights as “even more destructive” than communism. A politician who called LGBT people “not equal to normal people” is serving as education minister.
Dehnel and his husband are among those who decided they could no longer call Poland home. More than a dozen of their friends and acquaintances are in various stages of leaving, as well. The fear is that gay rights in Poland are slipping in the direction of notoriously anti-LGBT Russia.