The bill was introduced on Thursday by the ruling Fidesz Party led by prime minister Viktor Orbán. It stipulates that children under the age of 18 cannot be exposed to pornography or content that encourages gender change and homosexuality — whether in schools, entertainment, films or books.
The Hungarian government will vote on the pro-child, anti-propaganda law next week.
Dr. Gabriella Selmeczi, a Fidesz lawmaker among those who introduced the legislation, anticipated criticism and defended the bill. "True liberalism is when children are left alone with questions about their sexual orientation until the age of 18," she said.
Indeed, LGBT organizations and allies were swift in denouncing the move.
Budapest Pride, a self-described feminist and anti-racist LGBTQ organization, called on U.S. LGBT lobbies and political actors to push the Biden administration to chastise Orbán as they meet throughout the summer. In an online article, the group voiced its opposition to the bill and similar legislation — and to Orbán, noted for his advocacy of a Christian Europe:
Viktor Orbán was implementing homophobic and transphobic laws all year in 2020: he banned legal gender recognition all together for transgender and intersex persons. He banned adoption for gay and lesbian people even as single parents. He added inflammatory sentences to the Constitution like “The father is a man, the mother is a woman,” or “every child has a right to receive Christian upbringing” or “every child has a right to live according to their sex at birth.”
The pro-gay group went on to say, "Now we are scared, and human rights are endangered in Hungary."
Amnesty International also got in on the act of slamming the bill, saying it would "poison the public." The group also argued the bill would harm children:
This move endangers the mental health of LGBTQI youth and prevents them from accessing information and affirmative support in a timely, preventive manner. They also have the right to receive the education and upbringing necessary for the full development of their personality: including sexual education and upbringing for family life.
The non-governmental organization compared the proposal to Russia's "Gay Propaganda Law," formally called the Law for the Purpose of Protecting Children from Information Advocating for a Denial of Traditional Family Values" passed in 2013.
"The law is a copy-paste of Russia and will silence the entire LGBTI-community," tweeted Rémy Bonny, an LGBT activist from Belgium. "[The European Commission] must take harsh sanctions against Hungary immediately!"
In a recent interview for CNN, Barack Obama slammed Hungary and Poland, two countries holding up — and holding onto — traditional family values in the face of aggressive LGBT ideology from the European Union.
"And when you look at what's happened in places like Hungary and in Poland — that obviously did not have the same democratic traditions that we did, they weren't as deeply rooted — and yet, as recently as 10 years ago were functioning democracies, and now essentially have become authoritarian," Obama pronounced.
Obama's negative comments were not missed by Poland’s prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, who invited the former president to visit his country rather than "reading studies that falsify the image of Poland."