Orbán and his Fidesz party secured a two-thirds parliamentary majority following weeks of anticipation of a tight electoral race. At the same time, a separate referendum on LGBTQ+ issues sponsored by the party was declared invalid, following a campaign to spoil ballots.
Despite the referendum’s failure to become binding, the rights of Hungary’s LGBTQ+ community will likely be forced to endure a political environment laced with homophobia under Orbán’s next term.
In early March, for example, the szentkoronaradio.hu website published a list of names, complete with photos, of teachers who support LGBTQ+ rights.
In the same month, CitizenGO Hungary, a local branch of a far-right ultra-Catholic advocacy group founded in Spain, and the website vasárnap.hu, linked to the junior ruling Christian Democratic People’s Party (KDNP), published a series of homophobic articles linking homosexuality with paedophilia.
CitizenGO Hungary and Vasárnap.hu also launched an appeal in support of the Fidesz LGBTQ+ referendum, warning that the alleged insufficiency of Hungary’s laws on the protection of children had implications for the broader Western world.
“Our country, Hungary, has faced huge attacks in the past few weeks because we want to protect our children from sexualization and from LGBTQ-indoctrination propaganda in schools, kindergartens and also in the media,” one release claims, “And, if we are able to stay strong, here, that might help you, in the West, to go back to normality.”
Of those who cast valid votes for the referendum, more than 90 percent voted “no” to the following ballot questions:
- Do you support the teaching of sexual orientation to underage children in public education institutions without parental consent?
- Do you support the promotion of sex reassignment therapy for underage children?
- Do you support the unrestricted exposure of underage children to sexually explicit media content that may affect their development?
- Do you support the showing of sex-change media content to minors?
For the referendum to be valid, however, more than half of eligible voters had to mark a choice on all four questions. According to the National Election Office, fewer than 45 percent of eligible voters submitted valid ballots.
The European Commission slammed the law as discriminatory, and as against European values. It has also launched an infringement procedure against Hungary, which could see the EU’s Court of Justice imposing financial penalties on the country for homophobia.
In recent years, Hungary’s lawmakers have reversed legal gender recognition for transgender and intersex people, as well as amended the country’s Constitution to define marriage as a heterosexual union, and all but prohibit same-sex adoption.
Photo by Markus Spiske via Pexels