(AP) — Hungary's ruling conservative party has proposed new legislation prohibiting the display of pornographic material and any content depicting or promoting sex
reassignment or homosexuality to anyone under the age of 18.
The legislation was described as part of an effort to protect children
from pedophilia by Prime Minister Viktor Orban's party, Fidesz.
However, LGBT rights activists slammed the bills as discriminatory, with some comparing them to a 2013 Russian law
prohibiting gay "propaganda." Human rights
groups described the Russian law as a tool of discrimination and harassment.
“These proposals, which have dark echoes of Russia’s anti-gay ‘propaganda law,’ will further stigmatize LGBTI people
, exposing them to even more discrimination in an already hostile environment
,” said David Vig, director of Amnesty International
On Thursday, Fidesz presented the legislation to the Hungarian Parliament, which includes a measure to combat child abuse as well as several amendments prohibiting the transmission of information about LGBT people or same-sex relationships.
The bills will be debated on Monday and voted on Tuesday, and they are expected to pass easily given Fidesz's parliamentary majority.
“Tagging these amendments to a bill aimed at reducing child abuse appears to be a deliberate attempt by the Hungarian government to conflate pedophilia with LGBTI people,” Vig said on Friday.
According to Luca Dudits, executive board member of the Háttér Society, a Budapest-based LGBT rights organization, there is no similar law anywhere in the European Union
that is “as hostile” to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender
“We are very concerned about the outcome,” Dudits said by phone to The Associated Press
Gabriella Selmeczi, a Fidesz lawmaker who introduced the bill, denied that it is discriminatory or anti-liberal.
“True liberalism is when children are left alone with sexual orientation questions until the age of 18,” she explained.
With the next elections
scheduled for 2022, and fewer migrants
entering Europe, Orban's government has increasingly depicted the LGBT rights movement as a threat.
Human Rights Watch
slammed the legislation, claiming that “Orban’s government has sought to scapegoat LGBT people as part of a broader strategy to avoid human rights obligations and cement Orban’s brand of authoritarianism
The law prohibits making pornographic content available to anyone under the age of 18, as well as “content that depicts sexuality for the sake of sexuality, or promotes or displays deviations from the identity of the sex of birth, gender reassignment, or homosexuality.”
Advertisements and education
are also prohibited.
Marton Pal, a Foundation for Rainbow Families representative who has adopted children with his same-sex partner, expressed his surprise when he learned of the new bills on Thursday.
“Yesterday was a difficult day, and we went to bed with a lot of anger,” Pal told the Hungarian television
channel RTL. “When we read these amendments to the law, we gasped for air at what is happening around us, and why there is this stigma. We are trying to process what opportunity this law creates for power.”
Gera was in Warsaw, Poland, at the time.