EU takes action against Hungary, Poland for anti-LGBTQ measures

EU takes action against Hungary, Poland for anti-LGBTQ measures

The European Commission has taken legal action against Hungary after the country passed a law banning content sharing in schools that apparently supports gay and transgender issues, the commission said Thursday.

“Equality and respect for dignity and human rights are fundamental values ​​of the EU,” Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Parliament, said in a statement. “The Commission will use all the instruments at its disposal to defend these values.

The European Union executive also opened a case against Poland on Thursday after several cities in the country declared themselves “LGBT-free” and unwelcoming towards homosexual people.

Since the Hungarian law, which seems to confuse LGBTQ issues and pedophilia, was passed by the country’s parliament on June 15, international pressure on the European Union to act. At least 17 European countries have publicly condemned the measure. Last month, Germany lit up Munich’s football stadium in rainbow colors when the country faced Hungary in the Euro 2020 game to show its support for LGBTQ.

The rainbow-lit Allianz Arena during Christopher Street Day Pride Week in Munich, July 10, 2021.Christof Stache / AFP – Getty Images

Critics of Hungary’s new law have compared it to Russia’s 2013 “Gay Propaganda Law”, which prohibits the dissemination of information about LGBTQ issues and relationships to minors.

Ultra-nationalist Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said this month that he would not overturn the law despite the pressure.

“The European Parliament and the European Commission want us to let LGBTQ activists and organizations into kindergartens and schools. Hungary doesn’t want that, ”Orban wrote on his Facebook page, according to Reuters.

Following Thursday’s announcement, Orban joined a state radio show on Friday and called the EU action “legalized hooliganism” and said “the position of the European Commission is shameful”.

Luca Dudits, member of the board of the Hatter Society, Hungary’s largest LGBTQ rights organization, said that “the situation of the educational framework is quite bad” in the country. “LGBTQIA students feel very unsafe,” Dudits told NBC News.

In its statement on Thursday, the European Commission said Hungary “has failed to explain why exposing children to LGBTIQ material” would be “detrimental to their well-being or not in the best interests of the child. child ”. The committee said the law violates human rights under European Union law and violates the principles of the bloc treaty on the free movement of goods between member states.

The EU executive also challenged Hungary’s request for a warning on a children’s book that includes LGBTQ characters. The move, the committee said in a statement, restricts freedom of expression and the right to non-discrimination under EU law.

Hungary and Poland, both members of the European Union, have two months to respond to the arguments put forward by the committee. If they fail to do so, they could be referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union, the committee warned.

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Reuters contributed.