On Tuesday, June 15, the Hungarian Parliament passed anti-LGBT legislation ahead of the 2022 election. The national assembly passed this with a majority of 157 votes to one.

Credit: Reuters

The law bans the dissemination of LGBT content in schools and TV shows for those under 18 years of age. The content under this ban is content that is considered to promote homosexuality and gender change to children. This effectively bans educational programmes and the publicity of LGBT groups, affecting sex education classes as well.

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Christian-conservative His Fidesz party has gone as far as to conflate LGBT issues to pedophilia. Although this law was met with strong criticism and opposition from human rights groups upon presentation, the bill was widely backed due to its overall agenda to tackle pedophilia. While left-wing opposition parties boycotted the vote, it was not significant enough to prevent the law from passing.  

“There are contents which children under a certain age can misunderstand and which may have a detrimental effect on their development at the given age, or which children simply cannot process, and which could therefore confuse their developing moral values or their image of themselves or the world,” said a Hungarian government spokesperson. This law also prevents any form of advertising to showcase LGBTI-related content if it is deemed to be targeting people under the age of 18.

Amnesty Hungary has called it a “Dark day for LGBTI rights as homophobic and transphobic law adopted.” The Director of Amnesty International Hungary, David Vig has likened this legislation to the infamous Russian propaganda law, arguing that “this new legislation will further stigmatize LGBTI people and their allies. It will expose people already facing a hostile environment to even greater discrimination.” He further criticized the bill when saying “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 pedophilia with LGBTI people.” Vig has urged the EU and its member states to take “urgent steps” to ensure that the EU remains a safe place for people in the LGBTI community. Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield from the EU Parliament also spoke against the new law on Tuesday to say, “Using child protection as an excuse to target LGBTIQ people is damaging to all children in Hungary.” 

On Monday, June 14th, thousands of people participated in a protest to stop the law from passing but were unable to have any effect on the outcome. Several local organizations issued a joint statement after the vote arguing that the law goes against Hungarian society and that it “also clearly infringes the right to freedom of expression, human dignity and equal treatment.”