Hungary’s far-right prime minister, Viktor Orbán, has announced that his government will hold a national referendum on “child protection”, a euphemism for parts recent law widely condemned as discriminatory which prohibits any portrayal of LGBT persons in materials intended for children.
“LGBTQ activists attend kindergartens and schools and conduct sex education classes. They want to do it here Hungary also, ”Orbán said in a Facebook video statement released Wednesday.
The referendum will have five questions, mostly in the leading language. One of the questions is: “Do you support that minors are shown media content of a sexual nature that can affect their development without any restrictions?”
Orbán announced the referendum three days before the pride march in Budapest on Saturday.
The new Hungarian law came into force earlier this month. It seems to link homosexuality and pedophilia, and is partly modeled on Russian law banning so-called “homosexual propaganda” among minors. Hungarian law goes further, making it a criminal offense to “promote or portray” homosexuality or gender reassignment to minors. It also limits sex education in schools to government organizations.
Last month, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen described the law as “shame” and discrimination. “I will use all legal powers [the] The EU Commission should ensure that the rights of all EU citizens are guaranteed, “she said wrote on Twitter.
Orbán faces elections next spring against a newly formed opposition coalition, which could be a race in which the fight is being waged closely. Vigorous rhetoric against the LGBT seems to be part of a political strategy to find a new goal to boost support for Orbán’s Fidesz party, after years of campaigning against refugees and migration.
“The future of our children is at stake, so we cannot allow Brussels to have its own way,” Orbán said.
“The prime minister asked Hungarians not to answer these questions, just like five years ago when we stopped Brussels from forcing migrants on us,” Orban’s spokesman Zoltán Kovács said in a blog post.
In fact, the 2016 referendum on mandatory migrant quotas did not exceed the 50% turnout needed to be binding, although the vast majority of ballots were in favor of the government.
Rights groups say the referendum is likely to increase discrimination and stigmatization of the Hungarian LGBT community and make life harder and more dangerous for LGBT children.
“Organizing a referendum on depriving minorities of their fundamental rights reminds us of Europe in the 1930s,” said Rémy Bonny, a Belgian. LGBT rights activist, in a statement. “This referendum [is] not only does it return the LGBTIQ community to the closet, but it also threatens children’s basic rights. “