August 2, 2021

In Hungary, Viktor Orban calls a referendum on his anti-LGBT + law

Despite pressure from the European Union, the Hungarian Prime Minister is continuing his reform plans targeting LGBT + people. Viktor Orban announced on Wednesday July 21 that a referendum will be held on child protection. This popular consultation is directly linked to a law passed in June notably prohibiting the promotion of homosexuality and gender identities among minors. Mr Orban therefore asked for voters’ support for this anti-LGBT + law, after the European Commission launched an infringement procedure against Budapest.

“Brussels has clearly attacked Hungary in recent weeks regarding the law” which prohibits the « promotion » homosexuality among minors, said the sovereignist Prime Minister in a video posted on his Facebook page.

He then listed five questions, for example asking the Hungarians if they accept that the school “Talks about sexuality to their children without their consent”, if they support “The promotion of sex reassignment treatments for minors” or the “Unrestricted presentation to minors of media content of a sexual nature which affects their development”.

Mr. Orban, who did not put forward a date for the holding of this referendum, asked the Hungarians to answer no to all the questions, presented as demands that the European Union wants to impose on Hungary.

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The green mayor of Budapest, Gergely Karacsony, reacted to the announcement of the referendum on Wednesday, saying it was a strategy to distract Hungarians from other issues. “I organize my own referendum” to ask Hungarians what they think of the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, of the installation “From a Chinese university” in the capital and “Sale of highways”, he quipped on Facebook.

Showdown with Brussels

The announcement of this referendum, while the pride march is to be held in the capital on Saturday, is part of a legal standoff between Brussels and Budapest over a law to protect minors, adopted on June 15 , in particular prohibiting the evocation of homosexuality and the change of sex with minors. Budapest presented this measure as a means of “Protect children”, but her opponents say she associates pedophilia with homosexuality and stigmatizes the LGBT + community.

The European executive, which considers this law discriminatory against LGBT + people, has launched an infringement procedure against Hungary, which may lead to referral to the Court of Justice of the EU, then to financial sanctions .

Read also LGBT + rights: EU goes on the offensive by launching proceedings against Hungary and Poland

Since the return to power of sovereignist Viktor Orban in 2010, the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights have regularly condemned Hungary for reforms aimed at justice, the media, refugees, NGOs, universities or minorities. On Sunday, an international consortium of journalists accused Hungary of using Israeli software Pegasus to spy on civil society as well as various opponents.

In Central and Eastern Europe, other countries have already called referendums on the rights of sexual and gender minorities. Romanians and Slovaks thus voted more than 90% against same-sex marriage in 2018 and 2015, but these consultations were invalidated due to the low participation rate.

The World with AFP