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EU Commission to sue Hungary over anti-LGBTQ law

Hungary's law bans access to LGBTQ+ materials for under-18s

2022-07-15

Words: Emily Maskell; pictures: Unsplash

The EU Commission is taking steps to sue Hungary over an anti-LGBTQ+ law which bans queer content for under-18s.

Passed by the ruling Fidesz party last June the measure was tacked onto existing legislation protecting children from pedophilia.

The ultra-conservative Fidesz government, led by Viktor Orbán maintains that the law aims to protect children, not target the LGBTQ+ community. But LGBTQ+ rights have often been conflated with paedophilia.

As reported by Reuters, the EU Commission said on Friday (15 July): "The European Commission today decided to refer Hungary to the Court of Justice of the EU over a Hungarian law which discriminates against people on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity."

The EU is also suing Hungary over its refusal to renew the license for a broadcaster that is critical of the government. 

In December 2021, the Venice Commission, which advises the EU on constitutional law, criticised Hungary for the suddenly updated law saying: "no explanation was given for why the amendments were rushed through.”

"The amendments were submitted five days before the adoption of the law, which deprived civil society, opposition, and other interested stakeholders of the possibility to provide any meaningful input.”

The Commission also warned that the amendments "will further strengthen" anti-LGBTQ attitudes and "fuel a hostile and stigmatising atmosphere against LGBTQI people". 

In April, a referendum was held to ask Hungarian voters several questions including whether they supported LGBTQ inclusive education. 

However, it was declared invalid after a large number of ballots were spoiled by voters.

Hungary’s anti-LGBTQ+ law is undeniably similar to Russia’s 2013 ‘gay propaganda law’ that bans and fines any act, event or material regarded as an attempt to promote homosexuality to minors.

Recently, Russian lawmakers have put forward proposals to extend the ‘gay propaganda law so that anything and anyone promoting homosexuality can be punished.

The Attitude July/August issue is out now.