Sunday

3rd Jul 2022

Orbán counters EU by calling referendum on anti-LGBTI law

  • 'The future of our children is at stake, so we cannot cede ground in this issue,' said Viktor Orban - who faces elections in April 2022 (Photo: Council of the European Union)

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán has announced a referendum on his country's controversial new anti-LGBTIQ law - in response to criticism from the European Union which called the new legislation discriminatory.

The law, passed last month by the Hungarian parliament, bans showing content on homosexuality or gender change to under-18s in school sex-education programmes or media that reaches minors.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

In a Facebook video on Wednesday (21 July), Orbán urged the public to vote 'no' when being asked whether they support the "promotion" of content related to sexual-orientation to minors. The referendum will present five questions on these matters.

"The future of our children is at stake, so we cannot cede ground in this issue," said Orbán, who faces elections in April 2022.

"In the past weeks, Brussels has clearly attacked Hungary over its child-protection law. Hungarian laws do not permit sexual propaganda in kindergartens, schools, on television and in advertisements," he added.

"When the pressure against our homeland is so strong, only the common will of the people can defend Hungary," he also said.

Earlier this month, the European Commission launched legal action against Hungary over the new anti-LGBTIQ legislation - described earlier by the president of the EU executive, Ursula von der Leyen, as a "shame".

On Tuesday, the second EU-wide rule-of-law report highlighted the deteriorating situation of democratic standards in Hungary at a crucial moment, since Budapest is still awaiting the EU executive approval of its €7.2bn recovery plan.

The commission has expressed concerns over the independence of the judiciary and media pluralism, but the report fell short of mentioning the controversial new legislation.

At a summit last month, EU leaders slammed the anti-LGBTIQ law - prompting Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte to invite Hungary to leave the EU if it does not respect fundamental values.

A total of 17 EU countries argued in a statement that the law "discriminate[s] against LGBTIQ persons and violate[s] the right to freedom of expression under the pretext of protecting children".

Holding referendums in Hungary was banned due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Opinion

How NOT to frame debate about Hungary's toxic anti-gay law

Politicians use clever framing of issues to convince voters to support laws that harm their own interests. Viktor Orban's new hate law vilifies people for who they love. But its opponents may have unwittingly helped by repeating its framing.

EU may delay approval of Hungary's recovery plan

The EU executive is analysing the latest replies it received from the Hungarian authorities which only arrived last Friday. MEPs have urged the commission not to approve Hungary's plan until an effective anti-fraud system is in place.

Hungary's recovery ratification on hold, amid anti-LGBTIQ row

The EU Commission and most MEPs have called on Hungary on Wednesday (7 July) to repeal discriminatory new laws against LGBTIQ people or face legal consequences. Meanwhile, the commission is assessing Budapest's Covid-19 pandemic recovery plan.

EU Commission warns Hungary over anti-LGBTIQ measures

EU Commission vice-president Thierry Breton and justice commissioner Didier Reynders have written to Hungary's justice minister Judit Varga expressing legal concerns before the Hungarian bill - intended to protect children but including anti-LGBTIQ measures - enters into force.

MEPs visit Hungary to update damning report

The MEPs will meet with Hungary's justice minister Judit Varga, interior minister Sándor Pintér, opposition politicians, including Budapest mayor, Gergely Karácsony, NGOs, and organisations that are critical and also those which support the government led by Viktor Orbán.

Opinion

Romania — latest EU hotspot in backlash against LGBT rights

Romania isn't the only country portraying lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people as a threat to children. From Poland and Hungary in EU, to reactionary movements around the world are prohibiting portrayals of LGBT people and families in schools.

News in Brief

  1. EU Parliament 'photographs protesting interpreters'
  2. Poland still failing to meet EU judicial criteria
  3. Report: Polish president fishing for UN job
  4. Auditors raise alarm on EU Commission use of consultants
  5. Kaliningrad talks needed with Russia, says Polish PM
  6. Report: EU to curb state-backed foreign takeovers
  7. EU announces trade deal with New Zealand
  8. Russia threatens Norway over goods transit

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  4. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  6. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022

Latest News

  1. Nato's Madrid summit — key takeaways
  2. Czech presidency to fortify EU embrace of Ukraine
  3. Covid-profiting super rich should fight hunger, says UN food chief
  4. EU pollution and cancer — it doesn't have to be this way
  5. Israel smeared Palestinian activists, EU admits
  6. MEPs boycott awards over controversial sponsorship
  7. If Russia collapses — which states will break away?
  8. EU Parliament interpreters stage strike

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us