Hungarian Parliament passes Putin-like propaganda law despite huge social uproar
Despite thousands of protesters, and a petition signed by more than 100,000 people, the Parliament doesn’t care about the opinion of Hungarians. On Tuesday, June 15, the Parliament passed the propaganda law, thus banning LGBTQI-themed educational programs, products, and advertising for persons under 18 years of age.
The Parliament accepted a legislative amendment that would ban all products, advertising and media content depicting homosexual or transgender people for persons under the age of 18; ban the portrayal of LGBTQI people in public service advertisements; and ban all (even just partially) LGBTQI-themed educational programs if they even mention the existence of gay and transgender people.
The bill is eerily similar to the infamous Russian law from 2013, which became known as the “Propaganda Act”. This law, in addition to inciting hatred and aggression towards the LGBTQI community, also made scientific dialogue and educational work on homosexuality and transgender identity impossible. The new Hungarian amendment clearly violates the right to freedom of expression, human dignity and equal treatment. It endangers the mental health of LGBTQI youth by depriving them of early, preventive education and affirmative support. LGBTQI people have the right to live as equal members of society - with dignity, instead of stigma and oppressive taboos.
In Hungary, almost two-thirds of LGBTQI students have experienced verbal harassment for their sexual orientation, and more than half for their gender self-expression. Now pro-government and right-wing MPs have let these LGBTQI students down: they made sensitivity programs and public discussions promoting acceptance impossible.
On Monday, June 14, 10,000 people protested against the amendment in front of the Parliament. More than 100,000 people signed a petition, too, to clearly express that they do not want this propaganda law. According to the ISPOS survey from 2021, 59% of Hungarians think that same-sex couples should have equal rights of adoption, and 60% think that same-sex couples make just as good parents as heterosexual ones. It’s clear that the propaganda law lacks any social support - it is a forced attempt to create and profit off fear and hatred.
This is not the first blow the government deals to the LGBTQI community: in the Spring of 2020 they made it impossible for transgender and intersex people to legally recognize their name or gender; in December, passages were added to the Fundamental Law that stigmatize transgender people; lastly they made adoption even harder for same-sex couples through an amendment to the Civil Code. The real losers of this step were - again - the children, because they will have to spend even more time in state care instead of finding a loving family as soon as possible.
“Even though the government is trying to turn LGBTQI people into a public enemy, these last few days have shown that Hungarians are not asking for hate and provocation. Now we will focus on using all available legal means to challenge this offensive and inhumane law, both domestic and abroad, ”said Luca Dudits, board member of Háttér Society.
“Most important is to tell LGBTQI youth and their families that they are not alone, that people will stand up for their rights. This was demonstrated yesterday by 10,000 protesters and 100,000 signatories, and everyone who has posted or spoken out against this evil law. Let's stand together on July 24 at the 26th Budapest Pride Parade and let everyone know: we won't be silenced, we won't be banned. Reality cannot be banned. ” - added Viktória Radványi, an organizer of Budapest Pride.