Metro Weekly

Hungarian parliament approves national referendum seeking to erase LGBTQ visibility in schools, media

Referendum will focus on parental consent for teaching LGBTQ topics in schools, and blocking children from accessing LGBTQ-related media content.

hungary, lgbtq, referendum
Viktor Orban (center right) presiding over a session of the Hungarian Parliament. – Photo: Elekes Andor, via Wikimedia.

Hungary’s parliament has passed a resolution empowering the government to hold a referendum on LGBTQ issues, as part of a ploy to weaponize anti-LGBTQ sentiment to help the Fidesz-led conservative government cling to power in an election year.

On Tuesday, the Fidesz majority coalition voted on party-lines votes to approve four referendum questions related to sex education programs in schools and the presentation of sexual content in the media.

The questions will ask voters whether they support sexual orientation lessons for minors in public schools without parental consent; whether they back the “promotion’ of gender-affirming treatments for transgender minors; whether they support “unrestricted sexual media content for minors that affects their development”; and the “display of gender-sensitive media content to minors.”

“The Hungarian government proposes that citizens should have a chance to express their stance on the issues of gender propaganda,” deputy minister Balazs Orban told parliament, advocating on behalf of passing the referenda. “We are committed. We believe that we…have to say no to LGBTQ propaganda in schools carried out with the help of NGOs and media, without parental consent.”

Balazs Orbán also argued that holding the referendum on the same day as the general election would save taxpayers money, although it is up to President Janos Ader to set the date.

Ader, an ally of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, has not yet set a date for the general parliamentary election, which is expected to be held in April, Reuters reports.

Viktor Orbán, a populist right-winger who has been prime minister since 2010, pushed for a referendum after the government passed a series of laws attacking LGBTQ rights, setting limits on schools’ ability to teach about homosexuality or transgender issues, and curtailing LGBTQ portrayals in media — even going so far as to shut down liberal-leaning media institutions.

Orbán, who has sought to cast Western influences as a threat to Christian values and railed against affirming or acknowledging non-traditional gender roles and sexual orientations, has argued that the referendum is necessary to protect children and foster family values.

But critics note that Orbán is expected to face his first competitive election in more than a decade, and have accused him of using the referendum to rally social conservatives to the polls in the hope they’ll back Fidesz parliamentary candidates.

See also:

HIV advocates praise Biden’s “refocused” HIV/AIDS strategy

4 reasons why LGBTQ people should be concerned about the Supreme Court abortion case

Gay couple beaten with hammer and robbed by gang after holding hands

Leave a Comment:

Support Metro Weekly’s Journalism

These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!