Four municipalities have been ordered to scrap their so-called ‘LGBT-free’ zones by a top Polish appeals court.

A legal challenge from the country’s Human Rights Ombudsman resulted in a ruling that nine must come to an end, though this was then appealed by Ordo luris, a right-wing think-tank, the public prosecutor’s office and the municipalities in question.

However, on 28 June, the first four of these appeals were dismissed by the Supreme Administrative Court, meaning the towns of Istebna, Klwów, Osiek and Serniki will now have to abandon their ‘LGBT-free’ zone status.

Celebrating the news on social media, Poland’s Campaign Against Homophobia group wrote: “Today’s decision… is a great victory for democracy, human rights and respect for people.”

The resolutions were first passed in 2019, with the zones aiming to restrict the promotion of LGBTQ+ identities – especially in schools.

An array of religious and conservative groups in Poland, which continues to be predominantly Catholic country, view gay rights as a threat to their traditional values.

President Andrzej Duda has also expressed an array of homophobic views, including that being LGBTQ+ is “an ideology”.

The court’s latest ruling was criticised by Michal Wojcik, a cabinet minister and member of the conservative United Poland party.

“If councillors decide that they want to support our traditions and identity, it is their sovereign right,” he told Reuters. “Nobody should limit this.”