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Homophobic law in Hungary: how UEFA’s refusal to light up a stadium in LGBT colors caused reactions to the top of the EU

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The controversy has moved from the Euro to Europe. After the adoption in Hungary, Tuesday, June 15, of a law prohibiting the “promotion” of homosexuality among minors, protests multiply. UEFA’s refusal to light up the Munich stadium in rainbow colors – those of the LGBT flag – for the Germany-Hungary match on Wednesday 23 June sparked a series of outrage from institutions and states. Because the text adopted in Hungary, denounced by many associations for the defense of human rights, contravenes in particular the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, which prohibits any discrimination based on sexual orientation. Franceinfo traces this controversy to you in nine acts.

1Hungary passes homophobic law

The text adopted on June 15 by the Hungarian Parliament prohibits the “promotion” homosexuality among minors. “Pornography and content that depicts sexuality or promotes gender identity deviation, sex reassignment and homosexuality should not be accessible to anyone under the age of 18”, he says.

Several NGOs see it as an infringement of the rights of sexual minorities in Hungary. Amnesty International thus denounced, in a statement, a law “homophobic and transphobic” who “further stigmatizes LGBTI people, exposing them to increased discrimination in an environment already hostile towards them”.

Under this law, series like Friends or movies like Bridget jones or Billy Elliot may be prohibited for minors. Hungary, led by Viktor Orban, had already made adoption by same-sex couples impossible. Since December 2020, it has also prohibited the registration of the change of sex in the civil status.

2Munich wants to show support for LGBT community

In response, the municipality of Munich (Germany), host city of Euro 2021, announced on June 20 its intention to ask UEFA for permission to illuminate the Allianz Arena in rainbow colors during the Germany-Hungary match. These rainbow colors, emblematic of the LGBT community, would be a sign of denunciation of the law adopted in Hungary.

3UEFA refuses

Veto. UEFA, which organizes Euro football, refuses two days later to light up Bayern’s stadium in rainbow colors. “By its statutes, UEFA is a politically and religiously neutral organization”, justifies the instance in a press release.

“Given the political context of this request – a message aimed at a decision taken by the Hungarian national parliament – UEFA must refuse this request.”

However, UEFA says “understand that the intention is also to send a message to promote diversity and inclusion”. She proposes other dates for the illumination of the rainbow stadium, which correspond to different gay pride marches (such as Gay Pride): “Or on June 28, or between July 3 and 9. “

4Players denounce this decision

In the process, Gary Lineker, former glory of English football, rises on Twitter: “Do it anyway Munich, do it. Turn on the light so the world can see”.

The French Antoine Griezmann also published on June 22 a photo of the Munich stadium in the colors of the rainbow, by affixing a “raised fist” emoji.

5Other German stadiums light up

While waiting for the match scheduled for Wednesday evening in Munich, several other German cities which do not host the Euro such as Berlin, Frankfurt, Cologne, Düsseldorf or Augsburg announced on Tuesday that their stadiums will be adorned with blue, yellow, red, green and purple, as reported by AFP correspondent in Berlin.

6An activist walks into the lawn with a rainbow flag

In accordance with the UEFA decision, the Allianz Arena in Munich is not illuminated on the evening of Wednesday 23 June during the Germany-Hungary meeting. But an activist invades the lawn at the time of the Hungarian national anthem, waving a rainbow-colored flag, before being evacuated by security.

An activist waves a rainbow flag during the anthems before the Germany-Hungary match in Munich (Germany) on June 23, 2021. (ALEXANDER HASSENSTEIN / POOL / AFP)

In the stands, amid the black, red and gold German flags, many spectators hold small rainbow-colored flags, distributed before the meeting in front of the stadium by associations for the defense of LGBT rights.

7 EU leaders criticize Hungarian law

On that day, several European leaders also publicly took a stand against Hungarian law. “I think this law is bad” and “incompatible with my idea of ​​politics”, says German Chancellor Angela Merkel, for example.

On Twitter, the German President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, believes that “this bill is a shame”. “It discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation and opposes the fundamental values ​​of the EU”, she writes (in French and several other EU languages).

“We deeply regret UEFA’s decision to ban the Munich stadium from being lit in LGBTQI colors”, also informed the Elysee to News i, the same day. “UEFA has got its feet in the carpet a bit because in fact its decision to refuse is also a political decision”, still deplores Clément Beaune, Secretary of State for European Affairs, on News i.

8 The subject is invited to the European summit

In a joint letter to the heads of European institutions and the UN, theThe leaders of 17 EU countries, including France, Germany, Spain and Italy, proclaim the next day, Thursday June 24, the need to uphold the rights of LGBT people.

On Twitter, the Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, who was the first EU leader to marry a same-sex spouse, distributes this letter (in English), asserting that “hatred, intolerance and discrimination have no place in our Union”.

Without mentioning Hungary, a member of the EU, or its Prime Minister Viktor Orban, the signatories deplore “threats against fundamental rights and in particular the principle of non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation”. “Respect and tolerance are at the heart of the European project”, continues the text, published a few hours before the European summit in Brussels.

Since 2018, Hungary has already been targeted by a procedure initiated by the European Parliament to “serious violation” EU values. But this is currently at a standstill. For the moment, no European country has been sanctioned, recalls the site Vie-publique.fr, several countries of Eastern Europe refusing to condemn Hungary.

9 Viktor Orban defends Hungarian law

Upon arriving in Brussels for the EU summit, Prime Minister Vikor Orban says Hungarian law “does not relate to homosexuals”, but she concerned “the way parents want to educate their children about sex.”


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