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Adopted by the Hungarian parliament on June 15, the law prohibiting the “promotion” of homosexuality among minors comes into force on Wednesday. A text deemed liberticidal by human rights defenders, of which France 24 details the outlines and implications.
A law which represents a “disgrace” and “goes against all the fundamental values of the EU”. On June 23, from Brussels, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, did not mince words to denounce the Hungarian law prohibiting the “promotion” of homosexuality among minors. Hungary has “nothing more to do in the European Union” declared for its part the Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, criticizing a discriminatory text targeting the LGBT community.
However, despite strong criticism from the international community and militant mobilization in Hungary, the controversial text, adopted by the Hungarian parliament on June 15, comes into force on Wednesday July 7 in the country. A law which draws a dangerous parallel between homosexuality and pedophilia and which raises the concern of human rights activists. Explanations.
A law against pedophilia
The amendment banning the “promotion” of homosexuality is part of a larger bill aimed at combating pedophilia. In April 2020, the Hungarian ambassador to Peru, Gábor Kaleta, was dismissed from his post in a child pornography case: nearly 20,000 pictures of children were found on his computer. Repatriated and tried in Hungary, the diplomat receives a heavy fine but escapes prison. A sentence considered too light by a part of the population and which arouses criticism. The party in power then decides to work on a bill to fight more effectively against sex criminals. In particular, MEPs want to reassess the length of sentences and create a public register listing sex criminals. But a few weeks before the vote in parliament, on June 15, a new amendment was added to this bill: it is a section dedicated to “child protection” which then has nothing to do with it. pedophilia, but targets content referring to sexuality and in particular homosexuality.
“Protect children and parents”
This new amendment tends to prohibit any reference to homosexuality as well as transsexuality within educational and cultural content accessible to minors. “Pornography and content that depicts sexuality or promotes gender identity deviation, sex reassignment and homosexuality should not be accessible to those under the age of 18,” the text specifies.
“Laws flouting gay rights are legion in Hungary” laments Judit Takacs, a Hungarian sociologist specializing in LGBT issues contacted by France 24. “In 2020, no less than three reforms have passed, to make it impossible to recognize the change of identity , add the notion of gender in the definition of father and mother as well as to strengthen the control of adoptions. But this time, by creating this amalgamation between pedophilia and homosexuality within a single bill, the Orban government has gone really too far ”.
On the eve of the vote, thousands of protesters gathered outside Parliament to demand that the amendment be withdrawn. Accused of homophobia by European leaders, Viktor Orban remains on his line. “This is not a law on homosexuality but a law on how to educate children on matters of sexuality. (…) It is up to the parents to decide. It is a law to protect children and parents, ”he insisted at the Brussels summit on June 24.
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Towards generalized censorship?
This new law could lead to mass censorship in Hungary. Several NGOs have expressed concern that many popular culture products intended for young people have been banned, such as the series “Friends”, the story of which includes a lesbian relationship, or “Billy Elliot”, a film in which a boy reveals his homosexuality.
The concern is all the greater as several cases of this type have already hit the headlines in Hungary. In 2019, a pro-LGBT advertisement for Coca-Cola was sharply criticized by some members of the majority, who called for a boycott of the brand. The following year, an inclusive children’s book “Wonderland belongs to everyone”, which angered members of the government. The latter considered that it was a work of “homosexual propaganda”.
“Strictly speaking, the application of this law seems difficult, for the simple reason that it would require a colossal work of verification” judges Judit Takacs. “What worries me in the first place is the disastrous psychological effect that this law will have on the younger generations. Sexual majority is established at 14 in Hungary, but any reference to homosexuality is now prohibited for minors up to the age of 18. This law locks up young homosexuals in silence and solitude, at a crucial age which corresponds to the discovery of sexuality ”.