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A Coca Cola advert in Budapest promoting gay acceptance
Critics say the anti-LGBTQ law will lead to discrimination in HungaryImage: Bernadett Szabo/REUTERS

Hungary PM Orban pledges referendum on LGBTQ law

July 21, 2021

Orban said in a live video post that he would hold a vote on whether to push ahead with an anti-LGBTQ law that prompted the European Commission to launch legal action against Budapest.


Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on Wednesday that his government would hold a referendum on a controversial anti-LGBTQ law, setting up another possible clash with the EU over the legislation.

Orban made the announcement in a live video on his official Facebook page.

Viktor Orbán
PM Orban has taken a tough line on social issues since coming to power in 2010Image: Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto/picture alliance

The law, officially called the Children Protection Act, has the stated purpose of safeguarding children's well-being and fighting pedophilia.

But it has been widely criticized for being discriminatory against members of the LGBTQ community, and the European Commission has started legal action against Budapest that Orban branded as "shameful."

What did Orban say?

"Brussels has clearly attacked Hungary in recent weeks regarding the law," Orban said.

He 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."

Hungary's anti-LGBTQ law

The vote 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.

What is the EU saying?

The law has been widely criticized by the EU as it contravened Article 21 of the organization’s Charter of Fundamental Rights, which says "stigmatizing LGBTIQ persons constitutes a clear breach of their fundamental right to dignity, as provided for in the EU Charter and international law."

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen recently told European lawmakers that the Hungarian legislation was "a disgrace."  

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte last month went as far to suggest that Hungary no longer belonged in the European Union by pursuing such a policy.

Hungary has taken a number of such measures during the 11 years Orban has been in office. 

The country does not recognize gay marriage and, in 2020, same-sex couples were banned from adopting children. Hungarians are also not allowed to change their gender legally.

jf/msh (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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