EU Commission sues Hungary over LGBTQ+ propaganda law

anti-LGBT prime minister of Hungary Viktor Orban

The European Commission has launched legal action against Hungary over the country’s so-called LGBTQ+ propaganda law.

The legislation banning any discussion of LGBTQ+ people in schools and in the media was passed in an near unanimous vote in June 2021.

Prime minister Viktor Orbán and his right-wing party, Fidesz, have proved to be unrelentingly hostile to Hungary’s LGBTQ+ community.

As Hungary’s leader, Orbán has also overseen the banning of same-sex adoption, the ending of legal gender recognition for trans people and the redefinition of marriage in the country’s constitution as the union between one man and one woman.

On the same day as the country’s general election, 3 April, in which Orbán secured a fourth term, he held a loaded referendum on LGBTQ+ rights, cementing his propaganda law.

On Friday (15 July), the European Commission announced that it had “decided to refer Hungary to the Court of Justice of the EU over a Hungarian law which discriminates against people on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity”.

The law, the commission said, “singles out and targets content that ‘promotes or portrays’ what it refers to as ‘divergence from self-identity corresponding to sex at birth, sex change or homosexuality’ for individuals under 18”.

The European Commission filed the lawsuit on Friday after sending a letter of formal notice to Hungary over the anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in July 2021.

In its latest statement, the commission said that “the Hungarian authorities did not sufficiently respond to the concerns of the commission in relation to equality and the protection of fundamental rights, and did not include any commitment to remedy the incompatibility”.

Also on Friday, the European Commission filed a second lawsuit against the country over its censorship of the radio station Klubradio, which is critical of the government and was ousted from the airwaves a year ago.

But Hungarian justice minister Judit Varga denied suppressing media freedom, and described the case against the LGBTQ+ propaganda law as “baseless”, according to Reuters.