Hungary: Bill would ban 'promoting' homosexuality to minors

FILE - In this Thursday, April 1, 2021 file photo, Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban, speaks during a joint press conference in Budapest, Hungary. Fidesz, the ruling party of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, tabled amendments in Parliament on Thursday, June 12 to new legislation that bans showing to people under 18 pornographic materials or any content encouraging gender change or homosexuality. The party describes the new legislation as part of an effort to protect children from pedophilia. But LGBT rights activists denounced the bills as discriminatory, with some comparing it to a 2013 Russian law banning so-called gay propaganda. (AP Photo/Laszlo Balogh, file)
FILE - In this Thursday, April 1, 2021 file photo, Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban, speaks during a joint press conference in Budapest, Hungary. Fidesz, the ruling party of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, tabled amendments in Parliament on Thursday, June 12 to new legislation that bans showing to people under 18 pornographic materials or any content encouraging gender change or homosexuality. The party describes the new legislation as part of an effort to protect children from pedophilia. But LGBT rights activists denounced the bills as discriminatory, with some comparing it to a 2013 Russian law banning so-called gay propaganda. (AP Photo/Laszlo Balogh, file) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

BUDAPEST – Hungary’s governing conservative party has prepared new legislation that bans showing pornographic material and any content portraying or promoting sex reassignment or homosexuality to anyone under 18.

Fidesz, the party of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, described the legislation as part of an effort to protect children from pedophilia.

But LGBT rights activists denounced the bills as discriminatory, with some comparing the proposed legislation to a 2013 Russian law banning gay “propaganda.” Human rights groups have described the Russian law as a tool of discrimination and harassment.

“These proposals, which have dark echoes of Russia’s anti-gay 'propaganda law,' will further stigmatize LGBTI people, exposing them to greater discrimination in what is already a hostile environment," said David Vig, director of Amnesty International Hungary. He used the acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people.

Fidesz submitted the legislation to the Hungarian Parliament on Thursday. It includes a measure aimed at fighting child abuse along with various amendments prohibiting transmitting information about LGBT people or same-sex relationships.

The bills are scheduled to be debated Monday and to be voted on Tuesday. They are expected to pass easily given that Fidesz has a majority in parliament.

“Tagging these amendments to a bill that seeks to crack down on child abuse appears to be a deliberate attempt by the Hungarian government to conflate pedophilia with LGBTI people," Vig said Friday.

Luca Dudits, an executive board member with the Háttér Society, a Budapest-based LGBT rights group, said there is no similar law anywhere in the European Union “that is so hostile” to lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people.