EU leaders in a lather over Hungary’s new child protection law

Ban on promotion of homosexuality to children under 18

Sligo News File

Hostilities have broken out over child protection legislation enacted by EU member state Hungary

With 157 votes in favour and just one against, the Hungarian parliament elected to ban the sharing of content that is considered to promote homosexuality to children and teenagers of the country’s population. The law, which gives primary responsibility concerning sex education of children to parents, specifies that pornography and content that depicts sexuality for its own purposes or that promotes deviation from gender identity, gender reassignment and homosexuality shall not be made available to persons under the age of eighteen.”

However, ministers of several other EU states have denounced the new measure as a suppression of LGBT+ rights and a step backwards for what they deem to be equality.

Ireland’s Minister for children O’Gorman has reportedly described the law as “homophobia dressed up as a child protection measure.”

 Reported by the BBC, Dutch Prime Minister Rutte is said to have stated in the wake of the new Hungarian legislation that Hungary “has no business being in the European Union anymore,” and “the long-term aim is to bring Hungary to its knees on this issue.”

Thirteen  EU countries have issued a joint statement expressing “grave concern” about the new law.

The EU parliament has also voiced disapproval, urging the Commission to activate a new provision which allows the EU to cut budget allocations to states in breach of EU law to compel the Hungarian government to reverse its decision.

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen has said action will be launched against Hungary.

But defending the new controls, a spokesman for the Hungarian government said: “There are contents which children under a certain age can misunderstand and which may have a detrimental effect on their development at the given age, or which children simply cannot process, and which could therefore confuse their developing moral values or their image of themselves or the world.”

Children’s TV shows which feature gay characters or LGBT+ themes are banned under the law as is the showing of advertisements in support of the LGBT+, if directed towards minors under 18.

It is also stipulated that only individuals and bodies listed in a government register can now conduct sex education classes in the country’s schools.

The Hungarian government is understood to have accused political leaders critical of the newly introduced laws of “grave disrespect” towards the central European country. The law was drafted, it said, to protect children and applied to Hungarians and not other EU Member States. 

The rebuke is also reported to have reminded critics that “Hungary is a free, sovereign country, which insists on its rights guaranteed in the EU Treaties; therefore, neither the Commission nor any other European body can dictate how Hungarian parents raise their children.”

 Hungary’s constitution defines family as “based on marriage and the parent-child relation. The mother is a woman, the father a man.”

The constitution states that it “defends the right of children to identify with their birth gender and ensures their upbringing based on our nation’s constitutional identity and values based on our Christian culture.” Gay marriage is not allowed.

In general, only a man and a woman who are married can adopt a child.