Hungary plans to ban ‘promoting’ homosexuality to under-18s


BUDAPEST, Hungary — Hungary’s governing conservative party has prepared new legislation that bans showing pornographic material of any kind, or any content encouraging gender change or homosexuality to anyone under 18.

The party describes the new legislation as part of an effort to protect children from pedophilia. But LGBT rights activists denounced the bills as discriminatory, with some comparing it to a 2013 Russian law banning gay “propaganda.” Human rights groups have described the Russian law as a tool of discrimination and harassment.

Fidesz, the governing party of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, tabled the amendments in the Hungarian Parliament on Thursday. They are scheduled to be debated on Monday and face a vote on Tuesday.

Fidesz has a majority in the legislature and the bills are expected to be easily approved.

Luca Dudits, an executive board member with the Háttér Society, a Budapest-based LGBT rights group, said there is no similar law anywhere in the European Union “that is so hostile” to lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people.

“We are very worried about the outcome,” Dudits told The Associated Press by phone.

The legislation prohibits making pornographic content available to anyone under the age of 18, “as well as content that depicts sexuality for its own sake, or promotes or displays deviations from the identity of the sex of birth, gender reassignment or homosexuality.”

This also applies to advertisements.

ILGA-Europe, a Brussels-based umbrella organization of hundreds of LGBT rights groups in Europe and Asia, denounced the amendments, calling them “the next stage in a series of legislative attacks launched by Fidesz against the human rights and fundamental freedoms” of LGBT people.

“They also violate the right to freedom of expression and the right to education for all Hungarian people,” the group said.

Gabriella Selmeczi, a lawmaker with Fidesz who is among those who introduced the legislation, denied that it is discriminatory or anti-liberal.

“True liberalism is when children are left alone with questions about their sexual orientation until the age of 18,” she said.

Gera reported from Warsaw, Poland.

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