LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

Hungarian parliament’s proposed amendments censoring public communication about LGBTI people violates EU law

ILGA-Europe's statement on proposed anti-LGBTI and illegal amendments by FIDESZ in the Hungarian parliament

Yesterday, on 10 June, MPs of ruling party FIDESZ tabled a number of amendments in the Hungarian Parliament which directly discriminate against LGBTI people, and breach a number of EU laws. The proposed amendments introduce a ban on the "portrayal and the promotion of gender identity different from sex at birth, the change of sex and homosexuality" for persons under 18. This language would be being introduced to:

  • The Child Protection Act;
  • The Act on Business Advertising Activity;
  • The Media Act – all such content will be qualified as category V (unsuitable for minors), and the publication of such content will be banned in public service advertisements;
  • The Family Protection Act and the Public Education Act - such topics cannot be part of sexuality education, schools cannot invite external speakers or NGOs for education on "sexual culture, sexual life, sexual orientation or sexual development" unless they receive a special licence by the state to do so, and participating in such activity without a licence is classified as a misdemeanour.

These amendments, due to be voted on next Tuesday (15/06), would effectively ban the representation or communication about diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and sex characteristics in the Hungarian public sphere, as well as specific places such as in schools. The amendments are the next stage in a series of legislative attacks launched by FIDESZ against the human rights and fundamental freedoms of LGBTI people in Hungary. They also violate the right to freedom of expression and the right to education for all Hungarian people. The amendments clearly violate international human rights norms, in particular the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, UN Human Rights Committee and the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights (Articles 11 and 21) and Treaty on the European Union (Articles 2 and 6).

The discriminatory language being introduced to the Media Act constitute a clear violation of the EU’s Audiovisual Media Services Directive (Articles 9, 30 and 51). The discriminatory language being introduced to the Act on Business Advertising Activity constitute a violation of the EU’s Unfair Commercial Practices Directive. The discriminatory language being introduced to the Business Advertising Activity Act and the Family Protection Act breach the right to freedom of service provision and freedom of movement of goods as set out in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (Article 19 in relation to Article 26).

We call on all Hungarian MPs to vote against this openly discriminatory amendment. These amendments, when adopted, will have a significant impact on the rights of LGBTI people and all those who should enjoy their freedom of expression to simply even communicate about the existence of diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and sex characteristics.

We also call on EU institutions, as well as Council of Europe and UN to condemn the ongoing and systematic attacks of the Hungarian government on the human rights of LGBTI people and the principle of non-discrimination.

Read Hungarian LGBTI organisation’s press release on the proposed amendments here.