Since the referendum “failed,” the “propaganda act,” referring to the “child protection law” by the government, must be revoked, Amnesty International and Háttér Társaság – Background Society insists. The human rights watchdog and LGBTQ NGO argues that the referendum’s outcome is clear: people are fed up and don’t want any of the government’s exclusionary and hate campaigns. Viktor Orbán, however insisted that they won’t revoke the law.
The Orbán government began putting together the relevant law back in June following a number of pedophilia scandals. Beginning as an “anti-pedophilia law,” they soon amended it with parts many found restrictive to the LGBT+ community, something that has naturally sparked criticism both domestically and internationally.
In fact, the law with its LGBT+-related features reminded many of Russia’s propaganda act. What is more, Russia expert András Rácz argued earlier that the Fidesz government’s amendments make the Hungarian version even more restrictive than that of the much-referred to Russian propaganda act.
Despite ruling parties having voted in the package along with the amendments, the government still moved to hold a referendum on the topic as well, to be held together with the elections.
Besides these two organizations, 12 other NGOs have been campaigning for invalid votes. Eventually, some 1.5-1.6 million people voted invalidly, which may be a record, and resulted in the referendum being invalid altogether.
Amnesty: “Propaganda law must be revoked”
“The result is clear: people don’t want to live in a country where their family members, friends, and colleagues are being targeted by the government. The homophobic and transphobic propaganda law must be revoked immediately,”
commented the leaders of the two aforementioned NGOs, adding that
“We have been campaigning for the referendum to be invalid because we are sure that everyone wants to live in a safe and equal Hungary. We have reasons to celebrate, but we still have a long way to go. Over the past two years, Hungarian society has demonstrated from time to time that it supports and accepts LGBTQI people. We continue to work for a country where everyone is equally important.”
At his press briefing held today, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, however argued that in his view the referendum was successful, as never before have so many people voted “in one direction.” Therefore, he confirmed that they will not revoke the law.
featured image illustration via Nándor Veres/MTI