Lech Walesa, the Polish democracy icon and Nobel peace prize winner, has sparked outrage in Poland by saying that gays have no right to a prominent role in politics and that as a minority they need to "adjust to smaller things."
Some commentators are now suggesting that Walesa, the leading figure in Poland's successful democracy struggle against communism, has irreparably harmed his legacy.
Walesa said in a television interview on Friday that he believes gays have no right to sit on the front benches in Parliament and, if represented at all, should sit in the back, "and even behind a wall."
"They have to know that they are a minority and must adjust to smaller things. And not rise to the greatest heights, the greatest hours, the greatest provocations, spoiling things for the others and taking (what they want) from the majority," he told the private broadcaster TVN during a discussion of gay rights. "I don't agree to this and I will never agree to it."
"A minority should not impose itself on the majority," Walesa said.
The words have enraged many.