News|European Union
Hungary’s Orban defends LGBTQ law as EU anger rises
The new law banning LGBTQ content in schools ‘not against homosexuality’, populist leader says at EU summit.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres talks to Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban during an EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels, Belgium, June 24, 2021 [Olivier Matthys/Pool via Reuters]
24 Jun 2021
Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban has strongly defended a new law in his country banning LGBTQ content in schools as he arrived at a European Union summit in Brussels dominated by the growing controversy over the issue.
“This is not against homosexuality, any sexual interference. It’s not about homosexuals,” said Orban.
EU adopts framework to sanction Lebanese officials
The CJEU’s ruling on hijab exposed Europe’s hypocrisy
EU regulator endorses use of Moderna’s COVID-19 shot for children
UK demands EU renegotiate post-Brexit deal for Northern Ireland
“It’s about the right of the kids and the parents,” he said, adding that he would not withdraw the legislation despite fierce public criticism of it by most of his EU counterparts.
Leaders from 17 EU countries on Thursday signed on to a letter that, although not directly mentioning Hungary, deplored “threats against fundamental rights, and in particular the principle of non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation”.
It came on the heels of a more explicit joint declaration earlier this week by the same countries, including heavyweights Germany, France, Italy and Spain, which raised “grave concerns” over the Hungarian law.
The issue pushed to the forefront of EU politics this week when UEFA, Europe’s football governing body, rejected a plan by Munich to light up its stadium in rainbow colours for a Germany-Hungary match on Wednesday.
An EU official said the burgeoning debate about Hungary’s law had become “quite important” and would likely be chewed over during a working dinner.
‘Fundamental value of EU’
Some EU leaders following Orban along the red carpet into the summit chamber were openly scathing about the legislation.
“The Hungarian authorities are transgressing a fundamental value of the European Union in terms of the measures it is adopting,” Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin said.
“We will be articulating very strongly our view on that this evening.”
Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said he would tell Orban “his comments and the laws he’s had adopted are unacceptable”.
French President Emmanuel Macron was more measured, saying he was “always wary” of demanding another EU country withdraw the legislation.
“But I will defend our values and I would say that the law … doesn’t seem to me in line with our values,” he said, adding that he hoped “dialogue” with Orban would result in the law being changed.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who had previously called the Hungarian law “wrong”, made no mention of it as she arrived and gave a rundown of the summit’s “full agenda”.
European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday said the legislation “clearly discriminates against people on the basis of their sexual orientation” and said her executive would challenge its legal basis.
Orban, however, was dismissive of the onslaught, accusing EU leaders of not reading the text of the law.
He said, if it were raised, he would tell them “it’s about how a child learns about sexuality, which is, in any case, a difficult and complicated question, and decisions about that are exclusively the business of parents”.
Thompson-Herah leads Jamaican sweep in women’s Olympic 100m
Tokyo’s daily COVID cases hit record high
Injured Djokovic leaves Tokyo Olympics empty-handed
China races to curb Delta-fuelled COVID outbreak, worst in months
George W Bush should shut up and go away
India ‘threatening cricketers’ signed up for Kashmir tournament
What’s behind far-right trend of using 3D tech to make guns?
Hundreds take to Kuala Lumpur’s streets in anti-gov’t protest
Our Channels
Our Network
Follow Al Jazeera English:
© 2021 Al Jazeera Media Network
You rely on Al Jazeera for truth and transparency
We understand that your online privacy is very important and consenting to our collection of some personal information takes great trust. We ask for this consent because it allows Al Jazeera to provide an experience that truly gives a voice to the voiceless.
You have the option to decline the cookies we automatically place on your browser but allowing Al Jazeera and our trusted partners to use cookies or similar technologies helps us improve our content and offerings to you. You can change your privacy preferences at any time by selecting ‘Cookie preferences’ at the bottom of your screen. To learn more, please view our Cookie Policy.
Cookie preferences