A new law proposed by Viktor Orbán that would ban same-sex couples from adoption is just the latest in a long line of attacks on LGBTIQ rights by Hungary’s far-right leader, says Malin Björk MEP (Vänsterpartiet, Sweden).
The legislation came late on Tuesday, and it was announced on the eve of the EU Commission’s unveiling of its first-ever Equality Strategy for LGBTIQ people from 2021.
Using the Covid-19 pandemic as an excuse, Orbán put forward a number of laws and constitutional amendments that would essentially ban gay adoption.
It’s not the first time he has clamped down on Hungarians’ fundamental rights during Covid-19. Back in May, his government cracked down on press freedom under the guise of the ‘state of emergency’.
His government then banned changes of gender in personal documents and enacted other ultra-conservative policies such as censoring children’s books that give positive portrayals of diversity.
Meanwhile, the Commission unveiled its first EU Strategy for LGBTIQ equality on Wednesday, at a time when the LGBTIQ community in Europe has been hard hit by the pandemic. This inaugural, bloc-wide strategy is meant to implement policies to tackle inequality.
One of the most eye-catching initiatives is an extension of the list of EU crimes to cover hate crime, including homophobic hate speech.
In addition, legislation that would have mutual recognition of parenthood in cross border situations has also been proposed.
Speaking on the developments in Hungary, Malin Björk said:
“I welcome the first-ever EU LGBTIQ strategy. It is something we have long called for.”
“It is outrageous that at a time in which all the focus should be on fighting the pandemic and other pressing issues, Orbán and his government chooses to instead – and once again – to attack LGBTIQ people’s rights. It is deplorable how LGBTIQ people’s rights are being used by the Hungarian government to shift focus from its own authoritarian and corrupt management.”
“The Left in the EU Parliament will continue to stand in solidarity with Hungarian LGBTQI activists, and with all those who resist Orbán’s authoritarian regime. I reaffirm my conviction that the access to EU funds needs to be tied to a conditionality clause so that no government or actor that tramples on fundamental human rights will be eligible to receive EU money.”
On the new EU strategy for equality for LGBTQI people, Björk said:
“At a time when LGBTI people and women are coming under attack and LGBTI people are being scapegoated in several countries, like by the authoritarian right-wing governments in Hungary and Poland, it’s time the European Commission steps in and steps up,” says the Swedish MEP who is also vice-chair of the EU Parliament’s LGBTI Intergroup.
“We now have to ensure that the strategy doesn’t just stay on paper. There are urgent cries for help from our LGBTIQ sisters and brothers in countries like Hungary and Poland. We must increase support for NGOs, and I repeat, we must tie EU funds to respect for fundamental rights – especially those of LGBTI people”.
Photo courtesy of Swedennewyork on Flickr