The European Union has threatened Hungary’s Viktor Orban to take legal action in the European Court of Justice unless he waives the LGBT+ legislation that the committee has marked as discriminatory.
According to several diplomats, member states including Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands will take the lead in bringing charges against the Hungarian prime minister at the EU summit on Thursday. The bill prohibits homosexuals or gender redistribution from appearing in textbooks in schools under 18 in.
The conflict came after the escalation of tensions between EU countries and Budapest’s nationalist government, which believed that sexual orientation should not be taught in schools.
European Commission President Ursula von der Lein said that this bill, which requires the final approval of the Hungarian President, violates fundamental rights.
“This bill clearly discriminates against people based on their sexual orientation,” she said on Wednesday. “This violates the basic values of the European Union: human dignity, equality and respect for human rights.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday that “the law is wrong”.
After years of tense relations with Budapest over the rule of law, Brussels and many EU capitals have intensified their condemnation of Orban’s right-wing government. An EU diplomat stated that the LGBT+ bill reflects one of the “worst moments” in EU-Hungarian relations.
In a letter sent to the Minister of Justice of Budapest on Wednesday, European Commissioners Didier Reendez and Thierry Breton stated that if the bill is finally approved in its current form, Brussels will “have no hesitation in following Its power under the treaty to act”.
The EU has limited powers to request amendments to draft legislation, but it can sue member states that violate its treaty in the European Court of Justice. The committee’s letter outlines the scope of laws that Hungary’s LGBT+ legislation violates, including the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights, audiovisual and media supervision, and rules governing the provision of services in the single market.
The committee stated that the bill actually equates homosexuality and transgender issues with “same status as pornography and is considered to have a negative impact on the physical and mental development of minors.”
Budapest’s anti-LGBT+ bill has also triggered tensions with the European football governing body UEFA. UEFA’s rejection of Munich’s Allianz Stadium in Munich, Germany, lit up in rainbow colors during the match between Hungary and Germany at the 2020 European Football Championship stadium. UEFA stated that in view of Hungary’s “political background”, the move violated its regulations prohibiting the display of political symbols.
The Hungarian government argued that the bill aims to “protect the rights of children and protect the rights of parents. It does not apply to sexual orientation rights over 18 years old, and therefore does not contain any discriminatory elements.”
A statement from the Fidesz government said: “The statement by the chairman of the committee is a shame because it has expressed biased political views and has not conducted a fair investigation before.”
A senior EU diplomat said that countries will use Thursday’s summit to persuade Orban to withdraw from implementing the bill. “In the past, the Orban government retracted the legislation. Let us hope this can be done quickly because [LGBT+ bill] It’s beyond what we can accept. “