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Orbán Government’s Child Protection Referendum Challenged in Top Court

Ábrahám Vass 2021.12.23.

Shortly before the deadline, the controversial referendum, labeled as a “child protection” act by the Fidesz-led government, has been challenged at the Constitutional Court (AB), index reports. The plaintiff, who chose to remain anonymous, argued that even if it were voted through, the creation of a practical legal text wouldn’t be possible. AB will have to discuss the initiative in a separate procedure.

According to the plaintiff, in their decision regarding the referendum, the National Assembly didn’t examine the circumstances beyond the competence of the appealing bodies and public law arguments against the posed questions.

This means that it isn’t the actual content of the questions that concerns the plaintiff, who only wants to see the guarantees of the Fundamental Law enforced in the referendum procedure. According to the document challenging the decision, even if ‘yes’ votes come out on top, the creation of a practical legal text wouldn’t be possible.

The 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 with sections many regard as restrictive to the LGBT+ community, something that has naturally sparked criticism.

Venice Commission: Hungary's Child Protection Law 'Incompatible' with Int'l Human Rights Norms
Venice Commission: Hungary's Child Protection Law 'Incompatible' with Int'l Human Rights Norms

Questions of public morality and the protection of children are not grounds for a blanket prohibition or restriction of the depiction of gender reassignment or homosexuality, their statement said, adding that the law could result in stigmatization and discrimination against LGBT communities.Continue reading

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 the majority of the ruling parties having voted in the aforementioned package, along with the controversial 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. At the referendum, to be held together with the general elections in spring, voters will be asked four questions:

  • Do you support children in public schools participating in classes demonstrating sexual orientations 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?

AB has until mid-January to make a decision. If the appeal is upheld, the Parliament’s decision will be annulled and it will be asked to make a new decision on the referendum.

featured image: the Constitutional Court earlier; illustration via Zsolt Szigetváry/MTI


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