Hungary Calls Referendum On Controversial LGBTQ Law

The Hungarian LGBTQ law, which includes a ban on the "depiction or promotion" of homosexuality and gender reassignment to under-18s, has drawn scorn across Europe.

Hungary Calls Referendum On Controversial LGBTQ Law

Hungary PM Viktor Orban said the referendum on LGBTQ law would include five questions (File).


Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Wednesday that a referendum would be held to gauge domestic support for a controversial LGBTQ law, after the European Commission launched legal action against Budapest over the measure.

"Brussels has clearly attacked Hungary in recent weeks regarding the law", Orban said in a video posted on his Facebook page.

The legislation, which includes a ban on the "depiction or promotion" of homosexuality and gender reassignment to under-18s, has drawn scorn across Europe.

It has been billed by Budapest as a way to protect children, but opponents argue that it conflates paedophilia with homosexuality and stigmatises the LGBTQ community.

Orban said the referendum would include five questions, including asking citizens if they agree that schools should be permitted to "talk about sexuality to their children without their consent".

It will also ask participants if they support "the promotion of sex reassignment treatment for minors" or the "unrestricted exposure of children to harmful sexual content".

He urged all participants to answer "No" to the questions.

No date has been set for the referendum, which he presented as a list of demands that the European Union would like to impose on Hungary.

Diversion Tactic

The law has sparked a row between Brussels and Budapest, sparking protests against the bill inside and outside of Hungary.

The European Commission launched an infringement procedure against the law, which came into force this month, saying it violates EU rules on rights to freedom of expression, as well as free trade and provision of services.

Hungary swiftly hit back, accusing Brussels of interfering in domestic affairs.

EU commission chief Ursula von der Leyen has called the bill a "disgrace" and said that the EU executive would use "all powers available" to force Hungary to repeal or modify the law.

An infringement procedure involves several steps and could drag out over years to ultimately go to the European Court of Justice, which could impose financial penalties.

Hungary has two months to respond to the arguments put forward by the commission before the procedure enters the next stage.

Budapest has also accused Brussels of holding off on its approval of Hungary's Covid recovery plan because of its opposition to the anti-LGBTQ law.

Budapest's liberal mayor and Orban opponent Gergely Karacsony said Wednesday the referendum was a diversion tactic, aimed at distracting from other domestic issues.

"I am organising my own referendum" to ask Hungarians what they think about the handling of the coronavirus pandemic, he quipped.

He added that we would also seek opinions on controversial Chinese investments in the capital, including for a university and highway construction.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)