Several LGBT+ organizations want EU member states to take a stand against Hungary over the country’s controversial “gay propaganda” law. The organizations are trying to put pressure on the member states with a petition to support a lawsuit by the European Commission against Hungary. Belgium has already committed to do this.
The European Commission’s lawsuit is part of a so-called infringement procedure. The Commission initiated this procedure almost immediately after the announcement of the Hungarian law, which focuses in particular on limiting the visibility of LGBT+ people in the media. After a written reprimand, which according to the Commission was not sufficiently responded to, a course of action to the European Court in Luxembourg is the next step.
According to the Commission, the law goes against the fundamental values of the European Union, the rights of the individual and the rules of the European internal market. According to the Hungarian government, the law is precisely intended to “protect” children and the EU has no further say in this.
Although it is the European Commission that initiated the infringement procedure, this does not mean that the individual member states have to stand aloof. In fact, LGBT+ organizations Forbidden Colours, Reclaim and the Hungarian NGO Háttér Society are hoping that member states will provide written contributions to the lawsuit. In their view, such statements support the Commission’s case. With a petition, the organizations hope that as many member states as possible will contribute to the lawsuit.
The organizers of the petition fear that the law, which they describe as a copy of Russia’s “gay propaganda” law, will inspire other EU countries to do the same. If the court in Luxembourg rules against the law, it could set a positive precedent for the position of LGBT+ rights in the Union.
According to Eszter Polgári of Háttér Society, it is time for Orbán’s “crusade” against the LGBT+ community to be stopped. Rémy Bonny of Forbidden Colors says: “We must do everything we can to protect all Hungarian citizens from this harmful Putin-like ideology. Every Hungarian citizen deserves freedom, and children have the right to information about sexuality and gender.”
Belgium has already indicated that it supports the lawsuit. The Belgian Minister of European Affairs, Hadja Lahib, calls the law a “worrying trend” that must be stopped. “The fight against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression has always been a priority for our country.”
If the European Court does indeed declare Hungarian law illegal, the EU can impose fines or, in extreme cases, deny Hungary the right to vote.