Warsaw Mayor Bans Religious Symbols In City Hall, Requires Staff To Respect Preferred Pronouns

In a seriously contentious move, Warsaw Mayor Rafał Trzaskowski has banned the display of religious symbols such as crosses in city hall offices making Warsaw the first city in Poland to implement such the godless policy. The new regulations, which are part of internal guidelines aimed at combating discrimination, also require staff to respect the rights of same-sex couples and individuals’ preferred pronouns.

“Warsaw is the first city in Poland to adopt such a document,” Monika Beuth, the spokeswoman for Mayor Trzaskowski, told Gazeta Wyborcza, a leading daily newspaper that first reported the news.

Under the new rules, crosses cannot be hung on walls or displayed on staff desks, a common practice in state offices throughout Poland. All official events are now required to be secular in nature without any form of prayer. However, the ban does not apply to personal religious symbols worn by employees such as chains, tattoos, or armbands.

Trzaskowski, a deputy leader of the centrist Civic Platform (PO) party that forms the main part of Poland’s ruling coalition, was re-elected for a second term as mayor last month. In 2021, PO leader and now Prime Minister Donald Tusk called for the removal of crosses from public buildings.

The new guidelines also require staff to respect the rights of same-sex couples by enabling them to collect official documents on behalf of their partner or contact schools regarding their partner’s child. Officials must also respect individuals’ choice of pronouns, addressing transgender and nonbinary individuals according to their indicated preferences.

The figures associated with the national-conservative Law and Justice (PiS), Poland’s main opposition party, have criticized the measures. Tomasz Bocheński, PiS’s unsuccessful candidate against Trzaskowski in last month’s elections, called the mayor “a fanatical leftist ideologue who is trying to introduce extreme leftist ideology to Warsaw, contrary to the legal order and customs prevailing in Poland.”