BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) – The ruling Conservative Party in Hungary has prepared new legislation that bans the dissemination of pornography and any content depicting or promoting sexual reassignment or homosexuality to anyone under the age of 18.
Fidesz, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s party, described the legislation as part of an effort to protect children from pedophilia.
But LGBT rights activists have denounced the bills as discriminatory, with some comparing the proposed legislation to a 2013 Russian law banning gay “propaganda”. Human rights groups have described Russian law as a tool of discrimination and harassment.
“These proposals, which have grim echoes of Russia’s anti-gay ‘propaganda law’, will further stigmatize LGBTI people, exposing them to greater discrimination in an already hostile environment,” said David Vig, director of LGBTI people. ‘Amnesty International Hungary. He used the acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people.
Fidesz submitted the legislation to the Hungarian Parliament on Thursday. It includes a measure to combat child abuse as well as various amendments banning the transmission of information about LGBT people or homosexual relationships.
The bills are expected to be debated Monday and voted on Tuesday. They should pass easily since Fidesz has a majority in parliament.
“The labeling of these amendments to a bill that seeks to crack down on child abuse appears to be a deliberate attempt by the Hungarian government to confuse pedophilia with LGBTI people,” Vig said on Friday.
Luca Dudits, board member of the Háttér Society, a Budapest-based LGBT rights group, said there is no similar law in the European Union “so hostile” to lesbians, gays , bisexual and transgender.
“We are very concerned with the outcome,” Dudits told The Associated Press by telephone.
Gabriella Selmeczi, a Fidesz lawmaker who is among those who introduced the legislation, denied that it was discriminatory or anti-liberal.
“True liberalism is when children are left alone with questions about their sexual orientation until they are 18,” she said.
In the past, Orban’s government has described migrants as a serious threat to Hungary and the nation’s Christian identity, a theme the prime minister has successfully used to win previous elections. With the next elections slated for 2022 and the number of migrants entering Europe declining, the ruling party has increasingly portrayed the LGBT rights movement as a threat.
Human Rights Watch denounced the legislation, saying that “Orban’s government has sought to make LGBT people the scapegoat as part of a broader strategy to circumvent human rights obligations and cement the brand. authoritarianism of Orban ”.
The law prohibits making pornographic content accessible to anyone under the age of 18, “as well as content that represents sexuality for itself, or that promotes or displays deviations from the gender identity of birth, change of sex or homosexuality “.
The ban also applies to advertising and education.
Marton Pal, a representative for the Rainbow Families Foundation who adopted children with his same-sex partner, described his shock upon learning of the new bills on Thursday.
“Yesterday was a difficult day. We fell asleep with a lot of anger, ”Pal told Hungarian TV station RTL. “When we read these amendments to the law, we take our breath away as to what is going on around us and why there is this stigma. We are trying to seize what opportunity this law creates for power. “
Gera reported from Warsaw, Poland.
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