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The Hungarian government is facing blowback from the European Union and the United States over a new law that restricts the presentation of homosexuality and transgenderism to minors.
A bill, ostensibly intended to combat pedophilia, was passed into law by the Hungarian National Assembly on Tuesday. The content of the bill prohibits advertisers, public broadcasters, and media organizations from promoting homosexuality or transgender rights.
The bill passed in a 157-1 vote, with the opposition parties boycotting. The votes by far-right Jobbik and Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s conservative party, Fidesz, gave supporters a clear majority. However, support for the bill is far from unanimous, as seen by the condemnation by Budapest’s mayor and the large protests that formed in the country’s capital.
Even before it passed, Western officials had already begun condemning the bill.
“The message is that if you don't uphold the values of democracy or equality of the European Union, you are not entitled to take money for your project,” the European commissioner for equality said, adding that the EU would “definitely” take steps to block funding to Hungary if the bill was passed.
In response to the Washington Examiner’s inquiry about whether the U.S. was considering punitive measures against Hungary, a State Department spokesperson stated, “We are aware of the law passed this week in Hungary. It raises concerns about freedom of expression, restrictions on which have no place in democratic societies, and also about stigmatizing a segment of society and creating false associations with heinous crimes. The United States is committed to strengthening our partnership with Hungary and advancing the Biden administration’s support for democratic institutions, human rights, and rule of law globally … We will continue to press our Hungarian counterparts when we have concerns on these issues as an important part of our bilateral agenda.”
On the campaign trail, President Joe Biden consistently promised to make the rights of LGBT people worldwide a priority when he was in office. In February, Biden signed the Memorandum on Advancing the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex Persons Around the World, which directed U.S. agencies to “combat criminalization of LGBTQ identity or conduct, protect LGBTQ refugees and asylum-seekers, address human rights abuses affecting LGBTQ people and work with like-minded nations and international organizations to combat discrimination.”
Orban’s government claims that the law is needed for the protection of children and that it “defends the right of children to an identity that conforms to their birth gender.”
The Hungarian Embassy did not immediately respond to inquiries regarding how it will respond to threatened punitive measures by the U.S. and EU.
This newest controversy is the latest rift in a bitter East-West culture war that has rocked the EU since 2015, pitting the conservative East against the liberal West.
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Original Author: Brady Knox