Hungary has set a date for a referendum on controversial LGBTQ laws

When it was adopted in June 2021, the law effectively prohibited any discussion about LGBTQ themes in schools. This was widely condemned by civil rights activists and the opposition. Hungary, a member country of the European Union, was subject to legal action for violating the “fundamental Rights of LGBTIQ People” under EU law.

The referendum is considered a response of Hungary’s hard-line, nationalist government to such criticism. The vote will take place the same day as Hungary’s general parliamentary elections on April 3.

Viktor Orban, Hungary’s populist right-wing prime minister, has stated that the law does not violate LGBTQ rights but preserves parents’ rights to decide how to educate their children.

Orban has proposed a referendum that will ask five questions about the public’s support for the “promotion of content related sexual orientation to children” and is asking them to vote “no.”

The European Commission launched a legal action against Hungary in July. It stated that Budapest had not explained why children were exposed to LGBTIQ content.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, called the law “a shame” and said it goes against EU values. Mark Rutte (the Dutch Prime Minister) said that Hungary had “no place in the EU anymore.”
Protesters against the law gather near the parliament building in Budapest on June 14, 2021.
Experts and human rights activists believe Orban is trying to win political points and split his opponents in the run-up to the elections. While many of Hungary’s opposition parties have gathered to try and defeat Orban, LGBTQ rights are still a significant sticking point.

Orban suggested that a referendum be held in July. He referred to a 2016 referendum in which Hungary had rejected the EU’s refugee resettlement plan, but failed to meet a threshold for voting — rendering the referendum illegal.

He said, “Then, a referendum was held and the people’s will prevailed against Brussels.” “We have already achieved success once, and together we will achieve again.”