Hungary Calls For Referendum On Controversial LGBTQ+ Law

Orban announced the referendum Wednesday on Facebook.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has called for his country to hold a referendum which he hopes will establish public support for a law that prohibits LGBTQ+ related material from being distributed to minors. 

The law, which was passed in June, bans depictions of gay, lesbian, queer, and transgender-related material that is aimed toward minors, including in school curriculums. Earlier this month, a Hungarian bookseller was fined under the law after displaying books that featured same-sex families

Orban announced the referendum Wednesday on Facebook. The AP reports that the referendum will feature five questions, each asking voters whether minors should be introduced to topics related to sexual orientation and gender identity. 

The current law is the latest from Orban and the ruling Fidesz party, which has been in power since 2010, that discriminates against sexual orientation and gender identity. Last year, Hungary passed two laws, one which banned same-sex families from adoption and another which ended legal recognition for trans individuals.  

Hungary, which is a member of the European Union (EU), has come under fire from other EU members, who have criticized the anti-LGBTQ+ laws and Orban’s increasingly authoritarian measures. 

Last week, the European Commission, which is responsible for enforcing the EU’s laws, launched infringement procedures against both Hungary and Poland — which, like Hungary, has a recent history of passing anti-LGBTQ+ legislation — for failing to protect basic human rights to respect and dignity, in violation of the EU charter.  

“Europe will never allow parts of our society to be stigmatized: be it because of whom they love, because of their age, their ethnicity, their political opinions, or their religious beliefs,” said Ursula von der Leyen, President of the Commission, in a statement to the European Parliament on July 7. 

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