The Hungarian Islamic Community is backing the Orbán government’s position and campaigns to vote ‘no’ to the questions of the Orbán government’s controversial “child protection” referendum, arguing that the “satanic LGBT movement wants to poison the souls of our children.” Meanwhile, several NGOs are calling for invalid votes. A recent poll predicted that the referendum, held together with the elections on April 3, may be invalid due to the large percentage of invalid votes.
“Let’s send a message to the international, satanic LGBT movement that wants to poison the souls of our children that we in Hungary do not need their “enlightenment” activities among our children,” the imam and vice-chair of the Hungarian Islamic Community wrote on his social media site.
According to Miklós Ahmed Kovács, the world – and especially the western half – has taken a wrong turn, and every year it is becoming more and more difficult to educate their children normally. “Therefore, every small success in the defense of normalcy, such as a successful referendum, is a victory in the defense of morality.”
This wasn’t his first outburst against homosexuals. In 2015, he told pro-Fidesz site Mandiner that “homosexuals are the filthiest creatures of all of Allah’s creatures.” For this reason, Muslims should “never accept this thing, this disease, this heinous licentious thing.” Neither should they be cherished, nor should solidarity be shown for them, he added.
A controversial referendum
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 the set of laws many found restrictive to the LGBT+ community, something that has naturally sparked criticism internationally.
Not long before, the Orbán-led government also made single-parent adoption (the path that same-sex couples had to take to be able to adopt) more difficult (dependent on ministerial approval).
Despite ruling parties having voted in the package along with its amendments, even holding a “national consultation” on the matter after the new law came into effect, the government still moved to hold a referendum on the topic as well. Voters will be asked four questions:
- Do you support children in public schools participating in classes demonstrating sexual orientation without parental consent?
- Do you support information about gender change treatments being given to children?
- Do you support media content of a sexual nature and affecting the development of children being presented to them without any restrictions?
- Do you support media content presenting gender change shown to children?
NGOs call for invalid votes
Several non-governmental organizations, including Amnesty International and Budapest Pride, are calling for invalid votes at the upcoming referendum “so that we can all live in safety and equality in Hungary.”
According to their reasoning, “the popular vote is particularly mean-spirited for two reasons. On the one hand, the wording of the questions creates the idea that young people will be hurt by learning about sexual minorities; on the other hand, it violates the dignity of LGBTIQ people.”
Poll: Referendum will be invalid
41% of the total population don’t plan to participate at all, and almost half of the opposition voters will cast their vote invalidly, according to a representative opinion poll recently conducted by liberal Medián (commissioned by Amnesty International and LGBTQ NGO Háttér Társaság – Background Society).
In response to a question about the government’s aim with the referendum, more than one-quarter of opposition voters who had heard about it said it was only about distraction. In contrast, pro-government voters cited child protection as the goal.
A referendum is valid if more than half of all voters cast a valid ballot and is successful if more than half of those who vote answer yes or no to the questions. Data revealed by the survey shows that a large part of voters wouldn’t vote correctly, and therefore it is unlikely for the referendum to meet the validity threshold.
featured image illustration via Tibor Illyés/MTI