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15th Aug 2022

EU Commission sues Hungary over anti-LGBTI law

  • The Hungarian government, led by prime minister Viktor Orban, is being taken to the European Court of Justice (Photo: Council of the European Union)
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The European Commission is taking Hungary to the European Court of Justice for laws that discriminate due to people's sexual orientation and gender identity.

The announcement on Friday (15 July) comes after Budapest passed its controversial domestic legislation last summer.

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That law bans showing homosexual content or gender change to under-18s in school sex-education programmes or media that reaches minors.

The hard-right Hungarian government says it is intended to protect children against paedophiles.

It then sought to have a referendum on the issue but failed to muster enough votes for it to be valid.

Both EU justice commissioner Didier Reynders and EU's internal market commissioner Thierry Breton asked for explanations in a letter sent to Hungarian authorities in June 2021.

The commission said Hungary's response failed to address the issues raised in their letter.

The commission then sent another letter the following December asking how the Hungarian law complies with EU law.

But a commission spokesperson told reporters in Brussels that Hungary had failed to respond to its queries.

"It seems that Hungry does not plan to correct the situation," he said.

The commission says the law violates internal market rules, data protection rights, and several fundamental rights in the EU charter of rights.

'Historic'

French liberal MEP Pierre Karleskind, in a statement, described the commission's move as historic.

"For the first time ever, the commission took an LGBTI-related infringement procedure to Court, which shows that the matter is being taken seriously," he said.

Similar comments were made by German Green Terry Reinkte.

She said the Hungarian law had eroded the mental and physical health of people as well as their trust in the state to protect their dignity.

Both MEPs lead the European Parliament's LGBTI intergroup, an informal forum that defends the rights of the community.

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