The Parliament’s Fidesz-KDNP majority voted to hold a referendum concerning the child protection law. According to the joint opposition’s PM candidate, the idea of kindergarten children’s gender reassignment only exists in Fidesz’ minds. Meanwhile, the ruling parties point to “worrying” international examples and argue that the future of Hungarian children is at stake. An independent MP, active in child protection issues, argues that there are more urgent issues to address instead of this non-existent one.
Despite the government having voted in a relevant package of laws over the summer, it still moved to hold a referendum on the matter. Five questions were originally drawn up; however, the Supreme Court (Kúria) dismissed one: “Do you support making sex reassignment surgery available to minors?” This was eventually left out of the bill too, perhaps in a bid to prevent a potential delay in the schedule.
According to the government’s estimations, the referendum alone would cost HUF 12.7 billion if held separately, and “only” HUF 5.6 billion (EUR 15.4 million) if held on the same day of the general elections.
Opposition candidate Péter Márki-Zay: Gov’t preparing vicious campaign
The opposition alliance’s joint prime-ministerial candidate commented that the government was preparing for a “vicious campaign” equating pedophilia, homosexuality and child protection, and knows that such a referendum wouldn’t succeed unless it is held on the day of the general elections.
“Gender reassignment surgery for kindergarten children is something that only exists in Fidesz’ minds,”
Péter Márki-Zay stressed, recalling that Fidesz is the very party that brought its ambassador, Gábor Kaleta, home from Peru after several thousand pedophilia photos were found on his laptop. “This Fidesz is now trying to present itself as anti-pedophile,” said Péter Márki-Zay, who also noted that he would abolish the bill.
Momentum would abolish the “homophobic law and all homophobic regulations,” in a bid to guarantee all Hungarians to live with equal rights. Therefore, the centrist-liberal party also made it clear that it would allow same-sex marriage, and same-sex adoption.
After the vote, centrist-green LMP MP Péter Ungár said that the opposition alliance boycotted the vote because they believe that these issues are partly fictitious or, and even if they concerned the people, are not among Hungary’s ten thousand most important problems. According to Ungár:
“If Fidesz didn’t want to campaign and cover up the inflation crisis with political action that turns Hungarians against Hungarians, but instead seeks a national consensus, it could easily do so. But that isn’t what they are doing. This referendum is not about children, it is not about sexual politics, it is about one thing: digging deeper trenches in Hungarian public life.”
Meanwhile, Bernadett Szél called the referendum a “waste of money.” According to the independent MP (active in child welfare and protection issues), however, there are real problems in child protection, and the billions wasted on the referendum could have been better spent. She noted that the above-mentioned amount doesn’t even include the media campaign’s costs, which she claimed could be as high as HUF 20 billion (EUR 55 million).
“All this to ask us about problems that don’t exist and for which laws were already passed.”
Szél would rather spend the money on meals in children’s homes and on increasing child protection workers’ salaries.
Fidesz: The left-wing has “sided with the LGBTQ lobby”
The ruling parties consider sex education the exclusive right of parents, commented István Hollik, communications director of ruling Fidesz, adding that left-wing support for the “LGBTQ lobby” was obvious and that its proposals had been endorsed by the Democratic Coalition and Momentum parties.
“It is point-blank in Momentum’s program that LGBTQ education should be ensured in schools,” Hollik said, adding that former Momentum leader Fekete-Győr “has gone as far as to admit that he would allow transsexuals to hold so-called ‘awareness classes.'”
“It’s already visible in the West what would happen if Hungarian voters failed to curb the LGBTQ lobby,”
Hollik said. In the Netherlands, for example, “they start sex education from the age of four, and this includes gender identity and homosexuality.”
The Justice Minister also welcomed parliament’s decision and pledged to “protect the rights of Hungarian children and parents, and stop the LGBTQ lobby at the school fence.”
“Only a common will can stop the violent LGBTQ lobby and pressure of Brussels, which is why the government has initiated a referendum on child protection,” Judit Varga wrote on Facebook, adding: “We believe that with the support of the Hungarian people, we can go through the thickest wall. The future of our children is at stake, thus we are committed to protecting them,” Varga said.
Meanwhile, cabinet chief Antal Rogán promised “a robust campaign” for the referendum.
If president János Áder, a Fidesz-founder who was the party’s politician for 25 years before being elected president, gives the green-light, the referendum will be held on the day of the general elections, most likely in April, 2022.
featured image: independent MP Bernadett Szél; via Tamás Kovács/MTI