BUDAPEST, Hungary (AFP) – The Hungarian Parliament passed a law on Tuesday banning the “promotion” of homosexuality among minors, which critics have called crackdown on LGBTQ rights.
The law is the latest in a series of measures under right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s administration to combat pedophilia and protect children.
However, critics claim the law – making educational programs and promoting LGBTQ groups effective forbids – would « severely restrict » freedom of expression and children’s rights.
More than 5,000 people gathered in front of Parliament on Monday against the law that LGBTQ groups have compared to similar laws in Russia.
The law was passed with 157 votes in favor and one against in parliament controlled by Orban’s Fidesz party. The opposition boycotted the vote, with the exception of MPs from the nationalist Jobbik party, who supported the law.
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« To ensure … the protection of children’s rights, pornography and content that depicts sexuality for their own purposes or promotes gender deviation, gender reassignment and homosexuality, may not be made available to persons under the age of 18. » Text reads.
The sex education class « should not aim to promote gender segregation, gender reassignment or homosexuality, » it said.
It was not clear what penalties could be imposed on those who were seen as violating the new law
The law could mean that films that some see as promoting homosexuality, such as « Bridget Jones’s Diary », « Harry Potter » or « Billy Elliot », can only be shown at night if they are rated over 18, the said Broadcaster RTL Klub Hungary.
Attila Kelemen was one of the thousands who protested against the law on Monday and said it was « becoming more and more uncomfortable », not in Hungary to live only for gays, but practically for everyone « .
Amnesty International sees the law as » an attempt by the government to spread hatred « and says that politicians » are risking people’s lives for their cruel political campaign » .
“The text of the law is very ambiguous and on purpose. We don’t yet know the full consequences, ”Zsolt Szekeres from the human rights group“ Hungarian Helsinki Committee ”told AFP. « Even if it doesn’t mean that gay pride will be banned, it has a chilling effect on the organizers … because they fear the consequences and it gives the police an excuse to initiate proceedings. » such as Coca-Cola, which campaigned for the acceptance of homosexuals in Hungary in 2019, could be banned as well as books that dramatize homosexuality.
In recent years Orban, who has ruled Hungary since 2010, has had a socially conservative political agenda and made the EU member what he calls a bastion against liberal ideologies.
Last December, Parliament passed a package of measures to anchor the so-called traditional family, which effectively prohibits adoption by same-sex couples.
In May 2020, a legal gender change ban came into effect, with rights groups warning that this would be discriminatory against transgender Hungarians would suspend.
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