Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has said his government will hold a referendum on the country’s latest anti-LGBTQ laws that have provoked anger amongst other European countries and led to questions about Hungary’s place in the EU.
Earlier this month Hungary introduced new laws that restrict any LGBTQ material in schools or on children’s TV, a year after same-sex couples were effectively banned from adopting children, even if applying individually.
In response to the latest law, the European Commission, the EU’s executive branch, launched legal action against Hungary for “violations of fundamental rights of LGBTIQ people.” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte also questioned whether Hungary had a future in the EU.
“Equality and the respect for dignity and human rights are core values of the EU, enshrined in Article 2 of the Treaty of the European Union,” a statement said. “The Commission will use all the instruments at its disposal to defend these values.”
Orbán, who has spoken dismissively about the European Commission’s interventions in Hungary’s laws, is escalating the dispute by introducing a national vote on the laws, which are already in effect.
In a Facebook video, Orban said: “The future of our children is at stake, so we cannot cede ground in this issue.”
“In the past weeks, Brussels has clearly attacked Hungary over its child protection law. Hungarian laws do not permit sexual propaganda in kindergartens, schools, on television and in advertisements.”
The date of the referendum is yet to be announced. Meanwhile, Budapest’s Pride march is due to take place this weekend.