The Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has called for the country to hold a referendum on the controversial anti-LGBTQ+ law, The Child Protection Act.
Speaking on his Facebook page, the Premier said "The future of our children is at stake, so we cannot cede ground in this issue."
The Act, which has been so controversial as to lead to the EU formally beginning legal proceedings last week, seeks to "protect children" by "fighting pedophilia". In reality, it bans any mention or depictions of the LGBTQ+ community in any space that children may see them, like schools or television. Modeled on Russia's infamously homophobic "gay propaganda" law, the Act goes one step further by likening the community to sex offenders, suggesting they pose a risk to children.
Passed during Pride month, the act was initially criticised by the EU for breaching its Charter of Fundamental Rights for stigmatizing LGBTQ+ people. When Hungary refused to withdraw it, the European Commission took a further step by initiating legal proceedings against Hungary. This comes after 11 years of Orbán regressing gay rights - same-sex marriage is not recognised, LGBTQ+ Hungarians can't change their gender, and same-sex couples are banned from adopting children.
Ahead of Hungary's election next April, Orbán paints himself as the defender of traditional Christian values, standing against Western liberalism. For many years, this involved staunch anti-immigration rhetoric, but since that has begun to die down in the country he has latched on issues like sexuality and gender as his next target. If successful in court, the European Union will be able to withhold funding to Hungary whilst the law is on the books.
No date has been given for the referendum but Orbán has said it will contain 5 key questions: Hungarians will be asked whether they support the holding of sexual orientation workshops in schools without parents' consent, and whether they believe gender reassignment procedures should be promoted among children/
They will also be asked whether content that could affect sexual orientation should be shown to children without any restrictions, and whether gender reassignment procedures should be made available to children.
The ongoing case against Hungary in the European Courts continues.