Homophobia: where is Hungary heading with its new law?

Hungary's ruling party Fidesz presented an "anti-paedophilia bill" on Tuesday which among other things prohibits the "representation and promotion" of homosexuality and transsexuality in school materials, books and films. Gender changes will also be banned for people under the age of 18. Perfidious methods with far-reaching consequences are at work here, commentators warn.

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Népszava (HU) /

A lethal attitude

The widespread intolerance in Hungary is already having tragic consequences, Népszava warns:

“Suicide is one of the main causes of death among homosexual youths. We lose several hundred healthy, born-to-be-happy Hungarian people every year because of social intolerance, which the government actually stokes for opportunistic reasons. In more tolerant countries this phenomenon is unknown, thanks precisely to people there being well informed and taught to show empathy - an empathy which this new law falsely calls 'homosexual propaganda'.”

Der Standard (AT) /

Under the cover of child protection

The bill uses a dirty trick, Der Standard comments:

“From a purely strategic point of view, embedding the provisions in a law that provides for stricter punishments for sexualised violence against children and young people is not a stupid move. Tougher action against child abuse will attract fewer opponents than the legal denial of homosexuality. But mixing the two issues is not only unacceptable, it is dangerous. For there is really nothing to suggest that silencing a sexual reality protects adolescents from attacks by adults.”

La Stampa (IT) /

This will backfire

These are inquisitorial methods that will not achieve their objective, La Stampa predicts:

“The law is a cultural and legal aberration because it links homosexuality with paedophilia. ... But to associate culture and justice with the name of Orbán is absurd; the dictator has made sure that the people are used to the worst at this stage, in every area. The persecution of homosexual literature, from André Gide to Oscar Wilde, is nothing new either. But regimes rarely make distinctions. They shoot into the crowd and fail to understand that bans only boost and accelerate human creativity and the free circulation of ideas.”