31st May 2023

Luxembourg's Bettel lashes out against Orbán over LGBTI law

  • Luxembourg premier Xavier Bettel said he was 'ashamed' to see politicians wanting to win votes at the expense of minorities (Photo: European Parliament)
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Luxembourg's gay prime minister Xavier Bettel on Wednesday (18 April) launched an attack on the government of Hungary's Viktor Orbán which has in recent years introduced legislation targeting LGBTI people.

"I'm ashamed to see that some of my colleagues want to win votes at the expense of minorities," Bettel, who is one of two openly gay leaders of the EU, alongside Ireland's Leo Varadkar, told MEPs in the European Parliament plenary.

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"This has already happened in our history," he said.

Germany, France, and Bettel's Luxembourg, are among the 15 EU countries countries that joined the EU Commission's legal case against Hungary over its so-called "child-protection" law.

The law bans LGBTI people from featuring in school educational materials or TV shows for audiences under 18.

The legislation came under heavy fire already in 2021 at a meeting of EU leaders particularly for conflating paedophilia with homosexuality.

The commission said the law "discriminates against people on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity."

"If there's anyone in this house who thinks that you've become a homosexual by watching the television or listening to a song, then you've not understood anything," Bettel told European lawmakers.

"The most difficult [thing] for a homosexual is to accept themselves," Bettel said, adding: "Nobody is asking for pity, solidarity, or compassion, just respect."

"It is appalling to think that you can deal with this by a law on the media," he said, directing his comments at the Hungarian government.

Hungary's anti-LGBTI law is as part of a series of laws which Orbán's government argues aim to protect conservative values.

Hungarian lawmakers recently passed a bill that enables citizens to report anonymously on same-sex couples who raise children to authorities, Bloomberg reported.

In response, Tamás Deutsch, an MEP from Hungary's ruling Fidesz told Bettel "not to stigmatise" those who have a different identity, conviction, faith or political opinion from his.

He told Bettel not to call the so-called child protection law homophobic "by stating untruths", because it is only about defying the "inalienable right of parents to raise one's own child".

The commission has already suspended some of Hungary's EU funds over democratic backsliding and judicial independence, and negotiations over unblocking the subsidies also include the LGBTI-law.

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