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Hungary’s Viktor Orbán is ‘not willing’ to repeal ‘shameful’ anti-LGBT+ law despite EU demands

Josh Milton July 8, 2021
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Hungary Viktor Orban

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban pictured in Budapest in December 2020. (Attila Kisbenedek/AFP/Getty)

Hungary has simply shrugged off the European Union’s demands to repeal its “shameful” LGBT+ propaganda law.

EU officials and lawmakers have sharpened their attack lines in recent weeks during tense closed door-discussions after Hungary passed a law that prohibits the “promotion” of LGBT+ lives to minors in schools, advertising and in the media.

The law, which went into effect Thursday (8 July) according to the European Parliament, has been hotly lambasted by a raft of EU leaders, with Dutch premier Mark Rutte bluntly telling Hungary to get on board with equality or leave the bloc altogether.

In the face of such backlash, Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán’s chief of staff Gergely Gulyás has said that the government won’t be ditching the legislation anytime soon, Reuters reported.

“Brussels’ efforts to have us allow LGBT+ activists into schools and nursery schools are in vain,” he said. “We are not willing to do that.”

The Orbán administration’s resistance comes ahead of a crucial vote in the European Parliament to sue Hungary over the law that activists have compared to Russia’s “gay propaganda law” and Britain’s Section 28.

European Union lawmakers to vote on sanctions against Hungary

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the bloc’s executive arm, the European Commission, called on MEPs to condemn the “shameful” law “in the strongest possible terms” as she threatened to launch an infringement procedure against the country.

Such procedures would refer Hungary to the European Court of Justice, the EU’s supreme court, for breaches of EU law.

“Homosexuality is equated with pornography,” she said at a debate in Strausboyrg Wednesday. “This legislation uses the protection of children […] to discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation.

The President of the European Commission Ursula Von der Leyen
The President of the European Commission Ursula Von der Leyen (JOHN THYS/AFP via Getty Images)

“It is a disgrace.”

The parliament’s draft bill states that “the conflation of sexual orientation and gender identity with paedophilia or attacks on children’s rights, displays a clear attempt to instrumentalise human rights language in order to enact discriminatory policies”.

Orbán’s measure has faced fire from all sides as the 47-nation Council of Europe, a Strasbourg-based human rights body, has strongly urged Hungary to withdraw it.

In a similar response to Poland’s wave of anti-LGBT+ hatred, MEPs who helm the European Parliament’s budget control committee are, meanwhile, urging EU bosses to freeze vital funding for Hungary.

But the Hungarian leader has, for the most part, opted to sidestep the bloc’s concerns altogether. Seemingly acting with impunity, he claimed that the legislation is “not about homosexuality, it’s about the kids“.

With an election incoming, Orbán and his ruling Fidesz party have increasingly sought to tout themselves as the hard-line defenders of so-called traditional family values by treating LGBT+ rights as a wedge issue to score cheap political points.

Related topics: European Union, Hungary

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