The Hungarian Parliament, with the votes of Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party, passed a law allowing the government to hold a referendum on the rights of LGBT people. The opposition abstained. The plebiscite is to be held on the day of the parliamentary elections. The government wants to precede it with a campaign to fight “LGBT propaganda”.
Parliamentary elections are scheduled for next spring and – according to the newly adopted rules – the referendum may be held on the same day. The government maintains that such a solution will save money, but government critics believe that Viktor Orban’s cabinet wants to use the plebiscite as a publicly funded election campaign for Fidesz.
Orban and his Fidesz party – for the first time since taking power in 2010 – will face serious competition in this vote – Peter Marki-Zay will be the opposition’s joint candidate. Polls give the opposition slight advantage.
In a referendum, Hungarians will be asked whether they support workshops on sexual orientation in schools without parental consent and whether they believe that gender reassignment treatments should be promoted among children. They will also be asked if media content that may affect sexual orientation should be shown to children without any restrictions. On Monday, the head of the prime minister’s office, Antal Rogan, told parliament that the government would run a major campaign ahead of the elections to persuade voters to vote against “LGBT propaganda”.
Hungarian law prohibiting “the promotion of homosexuality”
In July, the European Commission launched an EU infringement procedure against Hungary “for violating the fundamental rights of LGBTIQ people”.
The EC’s actions against Hungary concern a new law that prohibits schools from using materials deemed to promote homosexuality. The rights groups have come together against this bill; It was strongly criticized by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. Prime Minister Orban called the EC’s reaction “legal hooliganism” and “shameful” action.
Parliament on Hungary passed a law on June 15 stating that school sexuality activities must not “promote” homosexuality or gender reassignment. Such classes, apart from school teachers, will be allowed only by persons and organizations appearing in the official, updated register. In addition, the state is to protect a child’s right to a gender-appropriate identity at birth. The act also prohibits making pornographic content available to persons under the age of 18, as well as content promoting gender change recorded at the time of birth, as well as homosexuality.
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