Western diplomats supported this year’s Pride March in Timisoara, Romania.
The Romanian Embassy in Budapest signed a joint statement in support of the LGBTQ community in Hungary, which organized the Pride march in the capital on Saturday.
Young Europeans, born after the era of communist oppression, know the phenomenon of unanimity in a political context by hearsay at best and may think nothing of it in the absence of dissent or abstention. Those who spent part of their lives in the former Eastern bloc, on the other hand, react suspiciously to any kind of unbroken unanimity, even when it does not concern delicate matters, such as the situation of sexual minorities. Indeed, contemporary witnesses of communism know all too well how political reservations or even objections were handled and unanimous decisions were enforced in those days.
The joint statement of the Budapest embassies of European countries expressing solidarity towards the allegedly harassed LGBTQ community in Hungary, testifies to a unanimity reminiscent of times (apparently too) long past.
The fact that this document was published by the U.S. Embassy is probably no coincidence and reflects the Biden administration’s claim to assert U.S. hegemony on ideological issues as well.
The point that only Poland among the EU Member States and Serbia from Hungary’s neighbors have remained silent in the European chorus is hardly surprising. Given the political proximity of the Budapest government to Warsaw and Belgrade, their reaction seems logical. On the other hand, the fact that Romania is strengthening the chorus of the concerned, raises some questions.
It is the first time that Romania has signed such a declaration and has done so in secret. The Romanian public, the vast majority of which is conservative in values, was presented with a fait accompli. The Romanian Foreign Ministry crossed a red line, according to the perception not only of the “Alliance for the Unification of Romanians” (AUR), the nationalist party that currently ranks second in polls with 22 percent. In all Romanian polls, the proportion of those who are critical of an unconditional adoption of the LGBTQ agenda prevails.
While Poland, a U.S. ally, has not signed this statement that would have incriminated it, Romania has signed a text incriminating itself,”
an AUR statement declared.
“Thus, Romanian deputies have signed a text that incriminates the majority of those they claim to represent, since all sociological research shows that Romanians favor marriage between a man and a woman and that a child can only have a mother and a father, and not any other combination,” the AUR statement had reasoned.
Significantly absent are the opinions of the two ruling parties that on April 27 pushed through the Senate – with the votes of the then co-ruling Hungarian RMDSZ party – an amendment to
Law No. 272/2004 on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of the Child to protect “children from the dissemination of content about deviation from the sex determined at birth or the popularization of gender reassignment or homosexuality.”
Now, being principled and consistent have never been the strengths of Romanian politics. However, such a dramatic U-turn in the assessment of the LGBTQ agenda surprises even the most lenient observers of the Bucharest political scene.
A comparison of the situation of sexual minorities in the two neighboring countries raises further questions about Romania’s moral legitimacy to read the riot act on Hungary regarding this sensitive subject topic.
The 2023 ILGA report speaks of death-threats against participants of the Bucharest Pride march and gas bombs thrown into the crowd during the final concert of the Pride festival in 2022.
Nothing of the sort was mentioned in the same report for Hungary.
Romanian civil society attributes these acts of violence – how else, since Hungary’s leadership is considered the scapegoat in the neighboring country too – to Viktor Orbán’s “xenophobic, anti-European and anti-LGBT speech,” from Băile Tușnad (Tusnádfürdő) in August 2022, according to the ILGA report. If there is no evidence of violence against LGBTQ people in Hungary, the Hungarian government will have to take responsibility for riots against members of sexual minorities not only in the neighboring country to the east, but throughout Europe.
“The Hungarian card is always pulled out to (…) block any constructive policy,” Transylvanian-Hungarian politician Tibor T. Toró argued at the Summer University in Băile Tușnad. If there is one thing consistent in Romanian politics, it is certainly the “Hungarian card.” It is easier to rub oneself against a neighboring country, instead of scratching where it itches.
Via Ungarn Heute, Featured image: Facebook/British Embassy Bucharest