Hungary prime minister Viktor Orbán accuses EU of leading ‘LGBTQ+ offensive’

Hungary's prime minister Viktor Orbán, who has led an anti-LGBTQ+ regime, wears a white shirt, orange tie and blue jacket as he stares somewhere off camera

Hungary’s far-right prime minister Viktor Orbán has accused the European Union (EU) of conducting what he called an “LGBTQ+ offensive” by rejecting “Christian heritage”. 

On Saturday (22 July), Orbán, who his known for his anti-LGBTQ+ agenda, once again took the opportunity to lambast the EU and the LGBTQ+ community while speaking at the Bálványos Free Summer University and Student Camp, a festival in a region of Romania that is home to a large Hungarian community.

“The EU rejects Christian heritage, carries out a replacement of its population via migration … and conducts an LGBTQ offensive,” Orbán said.  

He told the audience that they had “no choice” but to “fight” to defend what he regarded as traditional Christian values, Euractiv reported. 

The “replacement” Orbán referenced is linked to the far-right ‘great replacement’ conspiracy theory. The bigoted theory falsely asserts that white Europeans are being actively ‘replaced’ and losing their standing in society as a result of a plan to increase non-white immigration.  

Orbán also alleged that the “federalists” in the EU are “trying to squeeze us out”. He then denounced the union for wanting a “change in government” in 2022 in Hungary, according to Reuters

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Viktor Orbán and the EU have come to blows in the past over his anti-LGBTQ+ policies

In 2021, Orbán, who has positioned himself as a so-called defender of Hungary’s Christian values, introduced a law banning the “display and promotion” of LGBTQ+ identities among under-18s.

The ‘LGBTQ+ propaganda’ law has been used by Orbán’s ruling Fidesz party to attack queer books like Alice Oseman’s hit series Heartstopper, to censor a lesbian kiss in an episode of Jessica Jones on state TV and to incite verbal and physical violence against LGBTQ+ people

Orbán has defended the law in the past by saying that “gender propaganda” is the “greatest threat stalking our children” and that LGBTQ+ identities have “no place in Hungary”.

In 2022, the EU launched legal action against Hungary, a member state, over the legislation, saying it discriminates against people on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity. 

The European Commission, which is part of the executive of the EU, said Hungary’s anti-LGBTQ+ law “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”.

A person holds up a rainbow LGBTQ+ Pride flag during a protest against Viktor Orbán's anti-LGBTQ+ regime in Hungary
Advocates and EU leaders have condemned Viktor Orbán’s anti-LGBTQ+ regime as well as Hungary’s ‘LGBTQ+ propaganda’ law. (Getty)

Judit Varga, Hungary’s justice minister, filed a counterclaim against the lawsuit in March, saying “Hungary will not surrender”

Varga claimed that there had been “cases that have come to light in recent weeks” that “clearly” showed the need for a child protection law “as well as further measures”.

In response to the anti-LGBTQ+ law, Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte said Hungary should be expelled from the EU if it didn’t back down.

​​Luxembourg’s prime minister Xavier Bettel, who is openly gay, said he was “ashamed to see that some of [his] colleagues want to win votes at the expense of minorities”, Euronews reported. 

“If there’s anyone in this parliament who thinks you become homosexual by watching TV, if there’s anyone who thinks you become homosexual by listening to a song, then you prove you have understood nothing,” Bettel said in a speech to MEPs in April. 

“The most difficult [thing] for a homosexual is to accept himself … We don’t demand pity, we don’t demand solidarity, we don’t demand compassion. 

“We only demand respect.”

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