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Hungary passes ‘gay propaganda bill’ in ‘dark day for LGBTI rights’

"This new legislation will further stigmatise LGBTI people and their allies," says Amnesty International director David Vig.

By Jamie Tabberer

Words: Jamie Tabberer; pictures: the Hungarian Parliament Building and PM Viktor Orbán (Wiki)

Hungary’s parliament yesterday passed new legislation banning content about homosexuality and gender change in schools.

The new law, proposed by the ultra-conservative and ruling Fidesz party last Thursday (10 June) and debated yesterday, amends an existing law punishing pedophilia.

It is similar to the still-active 2013 Russian federal law “for the Purpose of Protecting Children from Information Advocating for a Denial of Traditional Family Values”, which effectively bans positive representation of LGBTQ life to minors.

The law is widely known as Russia’s ‘gay propaganda law’ and was itself arguably inspired by Britain’s own Section 28, introduced under Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government in 1988 and in effect until 2003.

The Christian-conservative Fidesz party, led by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, has introduced the law ahead of next year’s general election.

“A deliberate attempt by the Hungarian government to conflate paedophilia with LGBTI people”

In a statement, Amnesty International UK said: “This is a dark day for LGBTI rights and for Hungary.

“Echoing the infamous Russian ‘propaganda law’ – this new legislation will further stigmatise LGBTI people and their allies. It will expose people already facing a hostile environment to even greater discrimination.

“Tagging these amendments to a bill that seeks to crack down on child abuse appears to be a deliberate attempt by the Hungarian government to conflate paedophilia with LGBTI people.

“Yesterday, more than 10,000 people flooded the streets of Budapest to protest against these hateful amendments and show solidarity with the LGBTI community. But solidarity alone will not be enough.

“The EU and its member states must take urgent steps by raising this issue at the next General Affairs Meeting in the Council and ensuring that the EU is a safe place for LGBTI people.”