Desperate Viktor Orbán sets horrific anti-LGBT+ referendum for same day as Hungary election

anti-LGBT prime minister of Hungary Viktor Orban

Hungary is set to hold a so-called “LGBT+ propaganda” referendum on the same day as far-right prime minister Viktor Orbán tries to cling onto power in the parliamentary election.

Orbán, an anti-LGBT+ right-wing nationalist who belongs to Hungary’s Fidesz party, is attempting to remain in power for a fourth straight term in the election on 3 April.

The election is likely to be close-cut, according to Reuters, with Orbán tied in polls with Péter Márki-Zay, who is leading an alliance of six opposition parties spanning the political spectrum.

But on the same day that Orbán goes up against the alliance, he has announced, his so-called “LGBT+ propaganda” referendum will go ahead.

Orbán proposed the referendum in July last year in response to condemnation, both nationally and globally, of his party’s amendment to a Hungarian anti-paedophilia law banning any discussion of LGBT+ people in schools and in the media.

In November, the prime minister received parliament’s approval for the plebiscite to go ahead.

Orbán has previously outlined the content of the five-question referendum, which will ask Hungarians if they support “sexual orientation workshops” in schools without parental consent, whether content that could “affect” the sexual orientation of children should be shown without restrictions, and whether they believe gender-affirming surgeries should be performed on children.

The timing of the referendum is clearly strategic, as Orbán is basing his campaign on traditional religious values and an opposition to LGBT+ rights.

In a joint statement, 10 Hungarian LGBT+ and human rights groups called for citizens to give invalid answers to the referendum, circling both “yes” and “no” for every question to “help ensure that the government’s exclusionary referendum does not reach the validity threshold”.

The groups, which include Budapest Pride and Amnesty Hungary, said: “This referendum is particularly vile for two reasons.

“On the one hand, the wording of the questions suggests that young people are harmed by hearing about sexual and gender minorities, and on the other, it violates the dignity of LGBT+ people.

“The wording is intentionally manipulative: They are using parents’ natural concern for their children for their own political purposes. For the second time, the Fidesz government is building its election campaign to incite hatred against a vulnerable group.”

Dudits Luca, a spokesperson for the LGBT+ advocacy organisation Háttér Society, said: “We all know someone who belongs to a sexual or gender minority, be it our nephew, aunt, friend, colleague, teacher, or our teammate.

“We want to live in a society where their safety is just as important, where our loved ones can’t be subjected to atrocities on the street, on public transportation, or at work.”