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Hungary’s New Law Against ‘Promoting Homosexuality’ Generates International Outcry

Hungary Today 2021.06.16.

The news about Hungary’s new law banning the ‘promotion of homosexuality’ was met with huge outcry, not only in Hungary but also internationally. Several leading European Union politicians have condemned the new regulation, which they say is completely contrary to the laws and values of the EU.

On Tuesday, The Hungarian parliament passed a new law, which according to critics conflates pedophilia with LGBTQI issues. Although a widely-supported original bill submitted in early June by Máté Kocsis, leader of the governing Fidesz party group, only presented harsher sentences for the crime of pedophilia, last-minute amendments by Fidesz also tacked on another proposal banning ‘the promotion of homosexuality and gender change surgery to minors.’

Despite Loud Protests, Fidesz-KDNP Votes in Bill Against 'Promoting Homosexuality'
Despite Loud Protests, Fidesz-KDNP Votes in Bill Against 'Promoting Homosexuality'

The amendements were originally aimed at tightening the anti-pedophilia rules, which was supported by the opposition parties, too.Continue reading

The resulting proposal provoked a massive backlash in Hungary, with a huge protest in front of parliament before Tuesday’s vote.

But the new regulation not only made headlines in the country, but has also been condemned by the embassies of several countries, as well as many politicians of the European Union.

“I call on all Hungarian Members of Parliament to reject the proposal to ban the “portrayal and the promotion of gender identity different from sex at birth, the change of sex, and homosexuality” aimed at children, said Dunja Mijatović, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights in a statement on Monday, a day before the new law passed.

The commissioner believes the new rule is not only an affront against the rights and identities of LGBTI persons but also curtails the freedom of expression and education of all Hungarians.

“The proposed legislative amendments run counter to international and European human rights standards. It is misleading and false to claim that they are being introduced to protect children,” Dunja Mijatović added.

The European Parliament’s LGBTI Intergroup (which includes Hungarian MEPs Anna Donáth and Sándor Rónai from opposition Momentum and DK, respectively) also pointed out that in their view the new Hungarian regulation violates many EU directives.

Press Roundup: Debate on the Ban on the 'Promotion of Homosexuality'
Press Roundup: Debate on the Ban on the 'Promotion of Homosexuality'

A liberal journalist warns that the law blurs the difference between paedophilia and homosexuality. Pro-government commentators defend it as protecting children from environmental influences they are too immature to process.Continue reading

In a statement, the group highlighted that the amendments breach several EU laws, including the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, and the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

“Yet again, we see Fidesz scapegoating LGBTI persons and their lives, reaching for the polls in the 2022 elections. We see it coming from afar and it bears clear resemblance to the demonization of migrants and asylum-seekers. This fearmongering has become a state-sponsored tactic,” wrote MEP Terry Reintke, vice-chair of the Greens-EFA Group.

Michael Roth, the Minister of State for Europe at the German Federal Foreign Office, shared a similar opinion on Twitter claiming that Hungary’s new law seriously discriminates against LGBTIQ people. Michael Roth said the decision in Hungary’s parliament “represents another severe state discrimination against LGBTIQ people.”

“This law goes against everything we regard as our common European values,” wrote the state minister of the Angela Merkel-led federal government.

In his tweet, Roth then expressed his full solidarity and support for LGBTIQ people in Hungary.

Renew Europe MEP Guy Verhofstadt also made strong remarks against Viktor Orbán for the adoption of the law.

“Orbán using yet another tool from the Putin toolbox, hammering away at equality and human rights to hide his own corruption in the mist he created.”

According to the Belgian politician, EC president Ursula Von der Leyen also has the “tools to stop him: no EU money for those who destroy EU values!”

In addition to EU politicians, the embassies of several countries also raised their voices against the bill passed on Tuesday.

The United States Embassy in Budapest and the Embassy of the Republic of Ireland both issued a statement on Tuesday condemning the anti-LGBTQ sections of the new law.

The Embassy of the U.S. expressed its deep concerns emphasizing that “governments should promote freedom of expression and protect human rights, including the rights of members of the LGBTQI+ community.”

The diplomatic office then quoted President Joe Biden’s Pride Month Proclamation:

“We see you, we support you, and we are inspired by your courage to accept nothing less than full equality.”

The Embassy of Ireland later joined the US Embassy’s statement, emphasizing that “respect for human rights and the promotion of human rights has always been and will continue to be a cornerstone of Ireland’s foreign policy.”

Featured photo by Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI