Hungary has officially passed a law to prevent the sharing of content that is considered to ‘promote homosexuality or gender change’ with under 18s, meaning LGBTQ+ topics can no longer be discussed in school or on children’s TV. The bill was first introduced by Hungary’s Fidesz party, led by anti-LGBTQ+ prime minister Viktor Orbán, as an amendment to an anti-paedophilia law.
The legislation was then passed by the country’s national assembly in a 157-1 vote, with a government spokesperson saying: “There are contents which children under a certain age can misunderstand and which may have a detrimental effect on their development.” The day before the vote saw thousands protest outside parliament, urging politicians to reject the law. A petition against it was signed by more than 100,000 people.
Following the success of the bill, Amnesty International described it as “a dark day for LGBTQ+ rights” in the country. David Vig, director of Amnesty International Hungary, urged the EU to take action, saying: “The EU and its member states must take urgent steps by raising this issue at the next General Affairs Meeting in the Council and ensuring that the EU is a safe place for LGBTQ+ people.”
Hungary has passed a handful of anti-LGBTQ+ bills during Orbán’s presidency, including a ban on same-sex couples adopting which was passed in late 2020. Deputy prime minister, Zsolt Semjen, argued the law would ensure the “healthy development” of children. It was strongly contested by LGBTQ+ activists and advocacy organisations.