France and Germany join EU pushback against Hungary’s anti-LGBTQ+ law

Viktor Orbán at an EU council meeting.

Germany and France have joined several European Union countries in pushing back against Hungary’s oppressive LGBTQ+ censorship law.

A German government spokesperson revealed on Thursday (6 April) that officials would be joining the EU Commission in its infringement proceedings against the country after it passed an anti-LGBTQ+ law in 2021.

Dubbed the ‘Child Protection Act’, the Hungarian law prohibits the distribution of content for under-18s that promotes “divergence from self-identity corresponding to sex at birth, sex change or homosexuality”.

The EU Commission launched legal action against the law in July 2022, accusing Hungary of violating several EU human rights laws and values.

“There is no place for discrimination in Europe against people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity,” the commission wrote in its announcement.

So far, 15 EU member states, including France and Germany, have joined legal proceedings against the country.

You may like to watch

The deadline for states to join the case ended on Thursday (6 April).

These 14 states are currently taking part in proceedings: France, Germany, Greece, Sweden, Belgium, Denmark, Portugal, Malta, Spain, Ireland, Slovenia, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Austria and Finland.

Hungarian justice minister Judit Varga responded to the lawsuit in March 2023, saying that the country would “not surrender”.

“We continue to stand by our conviction and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union that education is a national competence.

“Parents have the right to decide on the upbringing of their children,” she said.

Vargo continued that she believed there to be “cases that have come to light” which the Hungary government claimed “clearly” proves the need for the anti-LGBTQ+ law.

Additionally, Hungary’s right-wing prime minister Viktor Orbán claimed that so-called “gender propaganda” is “the greatest threat stalking our children”.

He added: “We want our children to be left alone … This kind of thing has no place in Hungary, and especially not in our schools.”

The country experienced substantial backlash prior to the announcement of infringement proceedings, including an open letter condemning the law signed by 16 EU states.

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte said in 2021 that he believed Hungary should ultimately be expelled from the EU if it refuses to tone down its anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric.

He said that LGBTQ+ rights are a “fundamental point” of the EU and a subject that it shouldn’t back down on.

“If we let that go, we are nothing more than a trading block and a currency,” he said.

Please login or register to comment on this story.