Orbán announces referendum on his controversial homophobic law

The Hungarian government announced Wednesday that it will call a referendum on the recently approved law linking homosexuality with pederasty to “defend” minors from what it considers an attempt by the European Union to spread ideas about sex change or sexuality in schools.

“In recent weeks Brussels has attacked Hungary by the law in defense of minors,” said the prime minister, the ultranationalist Viktor Orbán, announcing on the social network Facebook holding the consultation, which did not specify the date or if the result will influence the already approved law.

Orbán has asked Hungarians to answer “no” to the five questions of the consultation, ranging from whether to allow talks of sexual orientation to the desirability of promoting sex change therapies among minors. “Hungarian law bans sexual propaganda in kindergartens, schools, on television and in advertising. Brussels is now calling for changes to the laws on education and the protection of minors,” the prime minister said in his message.

“They complain that in Hungary it is not possible what in Western Europe is already permanent, where LGBT+ activists enter kindergartens and schools, they carry out teaching about sexuality. They want it to be the same in Hungary,” he insisted. “Do you support the fact that in public schools there will be lectures on sexual orientation without the consent of the parents?” will be one of the questions of the consultation, the prime minister said.

The other questions refer to whether Hungarians agree that sex change therapies can be promoted to minors, or make it possible for them to have access to such treatments. It will also be asked whether or not Hungarians support the unrestricted presentation of media content that can influence the sexual development of minors. “Do you support the showing of media content about sex change?” reads the fifth question of the referendum.

Orbán has not clarified whether the outcome of the referendum could mean an amendment to the law, passed last June with the absolute majority with which his party, the Fidesz, has ruled for more than ten years. The law, originally designed toThe Fidesz government, which had increased penalties for paedophile offences, had the support of the entire opposition until a few days before the vote, when Fidesz added to the text a ban on talking to minors about homosexuality in schools or the media.

The controversial law has generated criticism both in Hungary and abroad and the president of the European Commission (EC), Ursula von der Leyen, has described it as “shameful”. Last week the EC opened proceedings against Hungary for discriminating against LGBT+ people with this law. In October 2016 Orbán called a referendum to support his position in discussions with the EC, but that time the consultation on the quotas for the distribution of refugees in the EU was not valid because the participation did not reach the threshold of 50%.

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