Hungary: Viktor Orban calls a referendum on the anti-LBGT law

Demonstration of LGBT members or sympathizers in front of the Parliament in Budapest (Hungary), July 8, 2021. (ATTILA KISBENEDEK / AFP)

Viktor Orban announced Wednesday that a referendum will be held on the anti-LGBT law, adopted in mid-June in Hungary and which has aroused the anger of the LGBT + community and of Brussels. The Hungarians will have to answer five very leading questions, including: “Do you accept that the school discusses sexuality with your children without your consent?“, “Do you support the promotion of sex reassignment treatment for minors?” or even the “unrestricted presentation to minors of media content of a sexual nature which affects their development?” Viktor Orban obviously called for saying no to everything but did not give a date.

The law has already been adopted, why this referendum? Because in 2022, in Hungary too, there are elections. And Viktor Orban plays his political survival. Facing him, the opposition is united, and with this referendum, he can divide it. To garner votes, he does what he does best: find a scapegoat. A few years ago, it was the fate of migrants. Today he takes on the LGBT + community. This allows him to debate topics he is comfortable with and avoid angry topics, such as pandemic management.

The enemy is also Europe. Brussels launched an infringement procedure last week, which could go as far as referral to the Court of Justice of the European Union and economic sanctions. “Brussels attacked Hungary”, launched Wednesday July 21 Viktor Orban, “it is an abuse of power.”

The announcement comes as a pride march will be organized in Budapest at the end of the week. The LGBT + community there is very concerned. Because of the law adopted in mid-June, homosexual or transsexual people are afraid of being stigmatized, marginalized, of no longer being able to go to the doctor or do administrative procedures. So they take their precaution. In Hungary, a homosexual will never speak at work about his partner of the same sex. She or he will not show any signs of affection in public.

Saturday’s protest is an opportunity and a risk for the LGBT + community. Small extremist groups could come and stir up trouble. Hungarian society remains, what will it do? In mid-June, 5,000 Hungarians demonstrated in front of Parliament. In a country where anti LGBT propaganda has filled the media and discussions for over a year, this is a small victory.
“We should never hold a referendum on human rights. They are already recognized by international lawprotested Sébastien Tüller, LGBT manager for Amnesty France. We do not negotiate human rights, it is an obligation of States to respect it. We cannot exploit the population of a country to undermine the dignity and equality of individuals. “

“The propaganda that is being made by Viktor Orban and his government contributes to increasing the stigma, the marginalization of LGBT + people. This is particularly worrying.” says Sébastien Tüller, head of Amnesty France. Amnesty calls on the Member States of the European Union to react with force and support those who mobilize there, during this pride march. “The European Union should provide financial support to associations fighting for the rights of LGBT + people” , continues Sébastien Tüller.

Today in Hungary these people are afraid of being more easily discriminated against or victims of violence. The speeches of power “come to dehumanize and destroy the dignity and equality of LGBTI people. These dehumanizing discourses have an impact on the very perception of the general population on the issues of LGBTI people.”

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