Minister Byrne expresses concern regarding new Hungarian anti-LGBTQI law
Press release17 June 2021
The Minister for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne T.D. has expressed his deep concerns regarding the anti-LGBTQI+ aspects of a new law passed by the Hungarian Parliament on 15 June.
The new law provides for restrictions on LGBTQI+ content in media. There is also a de facto prohibition on talks on LGBTQI+ issues in schools and educational programmes.
Commenting on the law, Minister Byrne said:
“Ireland stands for freedom of expression and protecting human rights, including the rights of members of the LGBTQI+ community.
“Everyone deserves to be treated equally and to live free from discrimination. Promoting the rights of LGBTI+ persons is a human rights priority for Ireland. The law passed by the Hungarian parliament does not respect these principles and goes against the fundamental values on which the EU is founded and to which Hungary has subscribed. I respectfully ask the Hungarian government and parliament to reconsider this damaging legislation.
“Ireland will continue to work with our EU partners and others to constructively engage with Hungary on these very important issues.”
Notes for Editors
On 15 June, the Hungarian National Assembly passed a bill on “stricter measures against paedophile criminals and on amending legislation related to the protection of children” by a 157 to 1 vote.
The Speaker of the Parliament will now send the Bill to the President for signing. It is possible for the President to refer the Bill to the Constitutional Court for consideration but this is unlikely to happen and the Bill is very likely to become law in the next 7 days.
Politicians from many opposition parties condemned the legislation for equating paedophilia with homosexuality and further stigmatising the LGBTQI+ community through the introduction of a law that uses safeguarding children as a pretext for solidifying the existing climate of inequality and intolerance.
The Bill provides for restrictions in media (including advertising) on content regarded as encouraging homosexuality or gender transition. There is also a de facto prohibition on talks on LGBTQI issues in schools and educational programmes. The new legislation further stigmatises the LBGTQI community in Hungary and will have a chilling effect on NGOs advocating for LGBTQI rights and organisations who support these issues.
Commission President Von der Leyen tweeted a statement expressing concern and saying this would be examined to see if it breaches EU law. Belgian Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmès (Belgium is the current holder of the Benelux Presidency) noted that Benelux ministers were very concerned about the new Hungarian legislation and intend to make a joint statement at the 22 June GAC. Ireland intends to add our support to this initiative.