Metro Weekly

Viktor Orbán Receives Standing Ovation for Anti-Gay Speech at CPAC

Hungarian prime minister attacks same-sex marriage and "gender ideology" in speech touting social conservatism.

Viktor Orban – Photo: European People’s Party, via Wikimedia.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán received a standing ovation after giving a “culture war” speech that attacked liberal ideas and principles, including same-sex marriage and LGBTQ rights.

In his speech addressing attendees of the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas this past weekend, Orbán defended his country’s laws prohibiting same-sex marriage.

“Hungary shall protect the institution of marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” the right-wing authoritarian leader said to applause. “Family ties shall be based on marriage or the relationship between parent and children. To sum up, the mother is a woman, the father is a man, and leave our kids alone. Full stop. End of discussion!”

Hungary allows for legally recognized same-sex unions, but not same-sex marriage. The country also passed a law last year, under Orbán’s right-wing Fidesz party, that bans so-called “gay propaganda,” defined as any content that is believed to “promote” homosexuality, in schools and in media — even in depictions that are intended to only be viewed by adults.

The law, which mirrors a similar law in Russia, prohibits any positive, or even neutral, portrayals of homosexuality, casting all LGBTQ people as evil or disordered under the guise of “protecting” children. Critics say the law is based on conservative tropes that associate homosexuality with pedophilia, as well as the notion that people will easily or readily change their sexual orientation simply by being made aware of the existence of LGBTQ people.

In his CPAC speech, Orbán repeated tropes popular with right-wing voters, complaining about “fake news” published by legitimate news outlets, attacking Jewish billionaire George Soros, former U.S. President Barack Obama, and other “globalists,” and embracing the idea that a “clash of civilizations” between liberals and conservatives is ongoing. He urged Republicans and conservatives to mobilize ahead of the 2024 U.S. presidential elections, expressing the hope that they take back control of the White House and praising former President Donald Trump as a key ally, reports CBS News.

The prime minister, who has become a darling of right-wing media in the United States, also touted his country’s anti-immigration policies and the gay “propaganda” law, which is similar in scope to so-called “Don’t Say Gay” laws being proposed by conservatives in various states, such as Florida. Claiming that children must be protected from “gender ideology” in schools without parental consent, he said that Hungary “decided we don’t need more genders, less drag queens and more Chuck Norris,” eliciting cheers from CPAC attendees.

Orbán frequently uses appeals to social conservatism to distract from less popular actions he has taken to clamp down on political opponents and restrict freedom of the press. He often casts the West or political liberals as “attacking” Hungary, or Hungarian traditions and values, in order to rally the populace around his party’s major priorities. 

Under Orbán’s government, the country has pushed many anti-LGBTQ actions, encouraging voters to redefine marriage in the country’s constitution to exclude same-sex couples, passing laws limiting the ability of same-sex couples to adopt, and revoking legal recognition of transgender individuals. The country is currently being sued by the European Commission, the governing body of the EU, in the European Court of Human Rights over its “propaganda” law, which the EU claims discriminates against LGBTQ individuals.

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