Hungary’s right-wing government last week passed a law banning the dissemination and representation of queer people in educational material and on children’s TV.

The law was condemned by the European Union and other countries as “grotesque”.

The Parliament claimed the law’s intent was to protect children from homosexual and transgender content that “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”.

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In the run up to the upcoming elections, the country’s nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban has spearheaded a conservative agenda and that has targeted LGBTQI+ people and immigrants.

Orban’s party promotes a Christian-conservative agenda that defends “Hungary’s Christian values in a Europe that is allegedly under attack from left-wing liberalism”.

The national assembly of Hungary overwhemingly passed the legislation 157 votes to one, triggering a mass rally outside the Hungarian parliament.

The European Union in shock

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The passing of the law has been met with criticism from the European Union countries, who have been urged to raise the issue at a meeting in Luxembourg next week. 

The EU Commission’s President Ursula Von der Leyen has also spoken out against the law.  “Very concerned about the new law in Hungary,” the Commission chief tweeted. “We are assessing if it breaches relevant EU legislation. I believe in a Europe which embraces diversity, not one which hides it from our children.”

After last week’s devastating vote, the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, described the legislation as an “affront against the rights and identities of LGBTI persons” and in contradiction to both European and international human right standards.

“It is misleading and false to claim that they are being introduced to protect children”, she said.

Meanwhile, other EU member states have taken measures to address and bring attention to the issue. As the European Championship in football is ongoing, German councillors governing Munich had put forward a motion to light up the city’s football arena in rainbow colors for Germany’s match against Hungary. That motion was rejected by the UEFA. 

“On the occasion of the match between Germany and Hungary, the council wishes to send a visible message of solidarity to the LGBT community in Hungary which is suffering under recent legislation passed by the Hungarian government,” the mayor had said in a motion.

 

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