European Parliament votes overwhelmingly to condemn new Hungarian anti-LGBTIQ law

In a resolution, adopted with 459 in favour, 147 against and 58 abstentions on Thursday, MEPs describe the Hungarian law as being in clear breach of fundamental rights.
European Parliament Audiovisual

By Lorna Hutchinson

Lorna Hutchinson is Deputy Editor of The Parliament Magazine

08 Jul 2021

The resolution comes in response to the Hungarian Parliament’s adoption on June 15 of a law originally intended to fight paedophilia, which, following amendments proposed by members of the ruling Fidesz party, contains clauses prohibiting the portrayal of homosexuality and gender reassignment to minors.

The law, which comes into force on July 8, also prohibits homosexuality and gender reassignment from being featured in sex education classes and stipulates that such classes can now only be taught by registered organisations.

In the resolution, Parliament stresses this is not an isolated incident, but “rather constitutes another intentional and premeditated example of the gradual dismantling of fundamental rights in Hungary”, where state-sponsored LGBTIQ-phobia and disinformation campaigns have become tools for political censorship.”

It says that these human rights violations are part of a broader political agenda to break down democracy and the rule of law, including media freedom, and should be considered a systemic violation of EU values.

With the resolution, MEPs are calling on the European Commission to launch an accelerated infringement procedure and to use all tools in the Court of Justice (CJEU), such as interim measures and penalties for non-compliance if necessary.

They also call on the Member States to bring the matter to the CJEU should the Commission not act, and to launch an inter-state application to the European Court of Human Rights.

Parliament also points to a number of issues in Hungary where the Rule of Law Conditionality Regulation should be immediately triggered to protect the EU budget and expresses serious concerns that the Hungarian Recovery and Resilience Plan may not comply with EU law.

“Attacking LGBTIQ+ people’s rights is a central theme in Orbán’s ongoing dismantling of democracy and rule of law in Hungary. But we will not give up. We will keep on claiming our rights” Malin Björk, The Left

The EPP Group, Parliament’s biggest political grouping said, “Freedom and tolerance: these values are the basis of our European way of life. We want a Europe where everyone is free to love who he or she wishes to love.”

It added, “We fully support the European Commission to use all the tools necessary to firmly uphold European values and our laws everywhere in Europe. Fundamental rights are not up for negotiation.”

The S&D Group said that Thursday’s vote shows that when LGBTI+ rights are under threat in the EU, the European Parliament will defend them.

It added, “The Commission and Council must find the courage to do the same. They need to stand up to oppressive leaders like Orbán and put an end to their offensive policies.”

Croatian S&D member Predrag Fred Matić said, “Today we at the European Parliament voted for an important document that clearly tells Hungary that anti-LGBTI laws are a violation of EU values, principles and rights.”

“The Commission and the Council must respond without delay and prevent further attacks and discrimination against our citizens,” he added.

Dacian Cioloş, President of Renew Europe, sais, “The overwhelming majority of the Council members were outraged by the anti-LGBTIQ law Orbán introduced in Hungary. Rightfully so. Orbán has crossed red lines before but that was a new low.”

“The Council needs to trigger Article 7 against this Hungarian government. All legal means should be applied in order to show Orbán that he has gone too far. We are a Union of values whether Orbán likes it or not”

Dacian Cioloş, Renew Europe President

“We welcome the response by most heads of state and governments, but it should not stop here,”  Cioloş said, referring to the statement issued by 18 Member States expressing “grave concern” over Hungary’s LGBTIQ discrimination, calling the new law “a flagrant form of discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression” that “deserves to be condemned.”

Cioloş continued, “The Council needs to trigger Article 7 against this Hungarian government. All legal means should be applied in order to show Orbán that he has gone too far. We are a Union of values whether Orbán likes it or not. He does not want to listen to reason, he therefore must face the consequences.”

The Left group in the European Parliament said it is clear that EU laws are being breached, and that immediate action must be taken to protect the rights of children and LGBTIQ+ people wherever they are threatened.

The group went on, “Today’s vote was sparked by new rules introduced by the Hungarian government that restrict freedom of speech and children’s rights by banning LGBTIQ+ content from being featured in school educational materials or TV shows for under-18s.”

“The Parliament has repeatedly expressed its concerns about the lack of progress in the Article 7 processes in relation to the situation in Hungary and Poland, and about the continued deterioration of EU values. Over the past year, we have witnessed right-wing governments and ultra-conservative forces in Europe attacking LBGTIQ+ and women’s rights, while advancing discriminatory measures. What Europe needs today is a united front to defend the values of inclusion and tolerance.”

Swedish The Left deputy Malin Björk said, “Attacking LGBTIQ+ people’s rights is a central theme in Orbán’s ongoing dismantling of democracy and rule of law in Hungary. But we will not give up. We will keep on claiming our rights.”

“This positive vote helps to keep the pressure on the European Commission and the Member States to stand up and finally act decisively against far-right governments. We will never accept that anyone’s fundamental rights are trampled upon, regardless of whether the attacks are pointed at LGBTIQ+ people, women or migrants.”

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