Protest against Hungarian ban on gay propaganda


Central Europe


Protest against Hungarian prime minister Orban. Photo AFP, Attila Kisbenedek

European voices have protested very strongly on Wednesday against the new Hungarian law against paedophilia. Many critics claim this law doesn’t protect children against paedophiles but that it is a state threat against homosexual citizens.

Thousands of protesters came to the beautiful and warm centre of the capital Budapest for a demonstration at the beach of the Danube river. The number of participants lay between 5,000 and 10,000.

A few weeks ago, the bill was introduced to punish paedophiles much stronger, Hungary Today reported. The government planned a national register with a record of all convicted paedophiles and their details. Furthermore, the restrictions for convicted paedophiles would be much harsher; not only banned from working in healthcare and education but also from sports, entertainment and leisure with children. For those reasons, members of the opposition were thinking about supporting this measure as well.

Changes regarding LGBT

Then last week, the ruling party Fidesz came with amendments that brought in restrictions regarding the LGBT community, Hungary Today reported. The new bill rules that:

Regarding sex education in schools, materials may not contain anything aimed at changing gender or promoting homosexuality.

Besides teachers at the school, sex education may only be conducted by people or organisations from an official register. This implies that liberal NGO’s can be excluded. Only government-approved organisations can offer this education.

It is forbidden to carry content targeting youth below 18 with pornographic content or promote homosexuality or gender identity that differs from the birth gender. The same applies to advertisements.

Television stations will be obliged to carry 18+ certificates for films and programs with controversial content.

Homosexuality not a normal lifestyle

From now on, it will be forbidden in Hungary to present homosexuality and transgender identity as a normal lifestyle. That creates division within the European Union community. Especially Western European countries see lesbian, gay and trans identities as part of the enormous variety of the rainbow spectre.

As part of this new bill, it will also be forbidden to use gay or lesbian couples in advertisements. Especially this is seen as a restriction on the freedom of expression, even though homosexuals appear very rarely openly adverts in countries that legalised gay marriage long ago.

One of the sore points for the critics is the link between paedophilia and homosexuality. Especially for gays, this is a very sensitive point since it suggests a criminalisation of their lifestyle.

Very much like Russia

According to the critics, the Hungarian bill ended up being like the Russian anti-propaganda act from 2013. In Russia, it is forbidden to portray homosexual behaviour as an everyday identity. Homosexuality exists, but in the margin, since it is not accepted as a socially preferred phenomenon.

The Hungarian government says that it has acted in accordance with the children’s interests. Last summer Hungary changed the constitution by stating that “Hungary shall protect the right of children to a self-identity to their sex at birth”.

Foreign minister Peter Szijjarto said after the vote that “protection of our children might not be a question: zero tolerance for paedophiles, while the education of children about sexual orientation is solely the parents’ right.”

Fidesz MP Gabriella Selmeczi said that “true liberalism is about leaving children under the age of 18 alone with issues that affect their sexual orientation.”

The bill was approved by 157 votes to one, the Hungarian news site Index.hu reported. Most opposition MP’s didn’t vote at all.

Protest by NGO’s

At least 10 NGO’s have protested against the law. Most of these are LGBT groups. They say, “homosexuality, bisexuality, or transgenderness is not something that lurks in the gift-wrap on someone’s 18th birthday: sexual orientation and gender identity are a natural trait of every person.”

The Hungarian branch of Amnesty International argued that in its view, the law goes against both Hungary’s constitution and also against European Union law.

Restriction of publicity

The National Association of Hungarian Journalists (MÚOSZ) protested against the accepted bill for the “restriction of publicity”. “Hungary is rapidly moving away from Western cultural values when it excludes from the public the one whose fate has brought it to feel better if its identity does not correspond to its gender of birth. Nor can people be deprived of their identity by law,” they wrote in their statement.

In the Hungarian press there is much criticism, although many authors show understanding for the government.

The LGBTQ section of the Hungarian Psychological Association is against the law. According to the psychologists, it restricts the children’s right to sexual health education, free expression and information, and discrimination against children and their families.



Subscribe for an update, and receive a documentary and e-book for free.

Choose your subscriptions*

You may subscribe to multiple lists.