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Friday, Jul 30, 2021

Hungary bans sharing content with children that promotes homosexuality

Hungary bans sharing content with children that promotes homosexuality

Hungarian MPs on Tuesday adopted a law banning any content portraying or "promoting" homosexuality or sex reassignment to anyone under 18.

The law was approved by 157 MPs, including those from the ultra-conservative ruling Fidesz party.

The opposition boycotted the vote, except the far-right Jobbik party.

In practice, educational programmes or advertisements by large groups in solidarity with sexual and gender minorities, such as the Coca-Cola ad depicting a male couple that prompted calls for a boycott in 2019, will no longer be allowed.

The same will apply to books, such as the collection of tales and legends de-dramatising homosexuality which attracted the wrath of the authorities in autumn 2020.

Series such as "Friends" or films such as "Bridget Jones", "Harry Potter" or "Billy Eliot", in which homosexuality is mentioned, could also be banned for minors.

The vote came a day after thousands of people took to the street of the capital, Budapest, to denounce the government's "constant propaganda" against the LGBT community.

Fidesz has defended its legislation as an effort to protect children from paedophilia.

The Council of Europe has condemned the bill as "misleading and false" as have several NGOs including Amnesty International.

Lydia Gall, senior researcher on Eastern EU and Western Balkans at Human Rights Watch reacted to the vote on Twitter, writing: "Associating paedophilia with LGBT people, banning comprehensive sexuality education and stifling free speech is despicable and unworthy of an EU member state."

Luca Dudits, a board member at the Hatter Society, the largest LGBT rights organisation in Hungary, told Euronews the vote was "unfortunately very unsurprising".

"Fidesz has been using the LGBTQ community as a scapegoat for many, many years. And unfortunately, they are using this kind of hate and painting us as an enemy to win votes," Dudits said.

Green MEP Rasmus Andresen called it a "shameful decision".

"It goes against our common values and human rights. I urge the EU Commission to take action and support Hungarian LGBTI*," he added on Twitter.

On Monday, the European parliament's LGBTI Intergroup had warned in a statement that the amendments to ban the portrayal and the "promotion" of sex reassignment "breach several EU laws", describing them as "Russian-style 'propaganda law'".


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