Hungarian president Katalin Novak uses UN General Assembly to go on ‘anti-family’ tirade

Hungarian President Katalin Novak

Hungary’s president Katalin Novak used her platform at this week’s UN General Assembly to launch a tirade on so-called “anti-family” values.

The country’s first female, and youngest-ever, president was in the LGBTQ+ community’s good books earlier this year when she vetoed an inhumane bill that would have allowed citizens to anonymously report same-sex families with children to authorities.

But Novak raised eyebrows on Tuesday (19 September) when she dedicated her speech at the UN General Assembly to parental rights and the supposedly increasing “anti-family” rhetoric.

The President of Hungary, Katalin Novak,
The President of Hungary, Katalin Novak, went on an anti-family tirade at the UN General Assembly. (Horacio Villalobos/Corbis via Getty Images)

She told the assembly that she believed population decline due to low birth rates was a far bigger threat to mankind than global warming – echoing a similar sentiment that Elon Musk expressed back in April 2022.

Recapping her UN speech, Novak tweeted: “I said @elonmusk may be right when he says that demographic decline is a more serious problem than the #ClimateCrisis. 

“What is the point of looking after the #Earth if we don’t have #children and grandchildren to pass it on to? 

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“We #Hungarians see the solution to the demographic crisis in strengthening and supporting #families.”

She continued: “We strongly believe that the right to raise #children does not belong to the state, nor to NGOs, nor to the media or the knowledge industry, but to parents. 

“Pro-family forces stand up for their values and interests. Even at a time when anti-family and anti-child ideologies are on an unprecedented offensive. In fact, especially then.”

As we have seen in the United States, when elected figures start preaching about “parental rights” and “anti-family” concerns, there can sometimes be an ulterior anti-LGBTQ+ motive – whether it’s banning books or outing trans children to their parents before they’re ready.

For those who weren’t sure if Novak’s speech was heading in that direction, the president has published a list on X (the social media formerly known as Twitter) titled: “12 points of the Hungarian Families”, which really drove home where her values lie.

Some of the points on the list, like “appreciation for the elderly” or “let those who have children be no worse off than those who voluntarily decide not to have them”, are easy to get behind.

But the second point on the list – “Those born as girls should be allowed to grow up as girls, and boys as boys” – is rather damning.

As it stands, Hungary doesn’t have the best rep among the LGBTQ+ community.

In 2020, the country voted to end the legal recognition of transgender people, by defining gender only as “biological sex based on primary sex characteristic and chromosomes”, making it impossible for people to legally change their gender.

The country’s Child Protection Act, which was passed with just one dissenting vote in June 2021, bans the discussion of LGBTQ+ people and themes in schools and in the media.

And, Hungary’s constitution defines and protects the definition of marriage as an institution “between one man and one woman” and claims that “the mother is a woman, the father is a man”.

So, despite her blocking of Hungary’s law to report same-sex families to local authorities, is Novak’s recent “anti-family” tirade surprising? Not exactly.

But disappointing? Absolutely.