Orban claims he is a “fighter” for gay rights, but just look at his record

On June 15, the Hungarian parliament passed a law banning any content or discussion that could promote homosexuality or gender change in children under the age of 18. The law applies to the public school system, media and advertising in Hungary.

The legislation was passed as an amendment to a widely supported bill that toughens penalties for pedophilia and child pornography.

The US Embassy in Budapest said in a statement it was “deeply concerned” by the amendment: “The United States supports the idea that governments should promote free speech and protect human rights. human rights, including the rights of members of the LGBTQI + community. “(LGBTQI + stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and non-binary.)

The European Union, of which Hungary is a member, criticized the law as discriminatory. The leaders of 17 European countries signed a letter condemning him and reaffirming their support for the “fundamental rights” of “the LGBTI community”.

At the European Council summit on June 24, leaders clashed with right-wing Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, demanding that the law be repealed. Orban said he wouldn’t, saying the law is not anti-gay.

“I am a fighter for their rights,” he said. “I defend gay rights, but this law is not about that.”

Based on his record, Orban’s claim is false.

The legislation was drafted by his Fidesz party and approved by the Hungarian parliament. Lawmakers representing the opposition liberal minority boycotted the vote.

Fidesz brought Orban to power in 2010 on a platform of nationalism and ultra-conservative Christian values. He is a candidate for re-election in 2022.

Under Orban, Hungary changed the country’s constitution to redefine marriage as a union between a man and a woman and outlawed transgender people, preventing them from legally registering their name and gender. Same-sex marriage and adoptions by same-sex couples are also prohibited.

The new law gives the government-appointed Media Authority the power to screen the media for content deemed to promote homosexuality. The Media Authority had already done so under the Pedophilia Act.

This means that all TV shows are grouped into six categories, each assigned a specific air time. Movies like “Harry Potter” and TV series like “Friends” can end up in category five, which means they won’t be shown until after 10 p.m., Hungarian commercial broadcaster RTL Club told the BBC.

According to media reports, the new law prohibits teachers from speaking with students about any subject related to homosexuality or “non-traditional” gender identity. Only instructors approved by the government will be allowed to teach sex education in schools. It is feared that even classical literature could be banned from programs if the Media Authority considers it to be a violation of the law.

The Fidesz party pushed the law through parliament despite warnings from Hungarian rights groups that it “would seriously limit freedom of expression and children’s rights.”

“Of Hungarian LGBTQI people, 42% have thought about suicide and 30% have attempted to do so,” the Hatter Society, a Hungarian rights group, said in a statement co-signed by 11 organizations. “LGBTQI youth commit suicide mainly because they find their situation desperate: the exclusion and harassment they suffer … are considered unbearable. The Hungarian state is now planning to intensify the suffering of LGBTQI youth.

A recent Hatter Society study found that LGBTQI students in Hungary are often verbally harassed and subjected to physical abuse at school because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. These students are “hit, kicked or injured,” he said.

According to the independent Hungarian news site Spectrum, the state media systematically nurtured anti-gay sentiment in campaigns of “defamation and dread”, with the encouragement of prominent political figures, including Orban.

For example, Orban attacked liberalism in a speech delivered on August 20 at a ceremony at the Monument of National Unity in Budapest:

“Western Europe has renounced the dynamism behind the millennial greatness and success, the spiritual depths of life, the happiness of marriage and offspring, and the spiritual energy of national cultures, that is, [it has] renounced Christian Europe, ”he declared. “Instead, they experience an unholy cosmos, rainbow families, migration, and open societies. “

The EU said on June 23 that Europe “will not compromise” on the Hungarian issue and that the devaluation of rights and freedoms by the Orban government could affect the country’s legal position in the bloc.

“The Hungarian bill is a disgrace,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said at a press briefing on June 23. She promised “to use all the powers of the committee to ensure that the rights of all EU citizens are guaranteed”.

“This bill clearly discriminates [against] people on the basis of their sexual orientation, and this goes against all the fundamental values ​​of the European Union, human dignity, equality and fundamental human rights, ”said von der Leyen.

The EU says Hungary’s new law violates EU law, and EU leaders discussed a response behind closed doors at the European Council summit meeting on June 24-25. Unless Orban revokes the new law, the EU will take Hungary to court for violating the terms of its EU membership.

Orban has previously disagreed with the EU. In 2018, the European Parliament voted to invoke a procedure under Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union to sanction Hungary for systemic human rights violations. Article 7 prescribes a multi-step approach, starting with a formal warning and moving on to financial sanctions and the denial of the right to vote in the EU Council of the offender.

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