22 July 2021
The controversial new Hungarian legislation will make life harder for LGBT+ children during the most vulnerable time of their development, will foster less inclusive environments in schools and is at odds with European values. Will the EU and Hungary’s neighbours be able to pressure the government to reverse course? Not likely.
News about the Hungarian anti-LGBT+ law quickly made headlines all over Europe, sparking heavy criticism, prompting 17 EU member states to sign a joint statement on Tuesday and calling on the European Commission to act against the discrimination of sexual minorities in Hungary. On Wednesday, the President of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, held a press conference where she called the bill a ‘shame,’ as it ‘clearly discriminates against people based on sexual orientation.’ But what is this law, and how does it fit into the Hungarian government’s anti-LGBT+ agenda?
Last Tuesday, the Hungarian Parliament passed a law introducing heavier sanctions on sexual crimes against minors. However, due to last-minute changes submitted by MPs of the governing party Fidesz, the act now outlaws ‘promoting or portraying’ homosexuality or sex reassignment to minors and limits sexual education in schools. The act sparked a major controversy, and on Wednesday, the President of the European Commission also responded:
Calling the new law a shame, Von der Leyen said that the bill goes against all the fundamental values of the European Union, stressing that she believes in ‘a European Union where you are free to be who you want to be,’ promising to use all the powers of the Commission to ensure that the rights of EU citizens remain protected, so she instructed the responsible commissioner to write a stern letter to the Hungarian authorities expressing the Commission’s legal concerns.