Hungary “has no place” in the European Union after passing a controversial new bill banning LGBTQ content in schools, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Thursday. The move prompted intense criticism from human rights groups and opposition parties. On the day it passed, crowds gathered in Budapest outside the parliament to protest the bill. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen also denounced the bill.
Hungary’s parliament has passed a law banning gay people from featuring in school educational materials or TV shows for under-18s, as Viktor Orbán’s ruling party intensified its campaign against LGBT rights. The national assembly passed the legislation by 157 votes to one, after MPs in the ruling Fidesz party ignored a last-minute plea by one of Europe’s leading human rights officials to abandon the plan.
Hungary’s governing conservative party has prepared new legislation that bans showing pornographic material of any kind, or any content encouraging gender change or homosexuality to anyone under 18. The party describes the new legislation as part of an effort to protect children from pedophilia. But LGBT rights activists denounced the bills as discriminatory, with some comparing it to a 2013 Russian law banning gay “propaganda.”
Hungary has become the first country in the European Union to give preliminary approval to the Russian coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik V. On Thursday, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff confirmed both the Russian jab and the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine had been given the green light by the health authorities. Early results from trials of the Sputnik vaccine have shown promising results.
A member of Hungary’s anti-gay government regime has resigned after being caught at an orgy in the basement of a Belgian gay bar, held in violation of coronavirus precautions. József Szájer on Sunday resigned his post as a Member of the European Parliament representing Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban’s Fidesz party. The Hungarian government for which Szájer worked has recently restricted the rights of the country’s LGBT community.
Hungary has banned people from legally changing gender, in a move rights groups said could lead to further intolerance and discrimination against the LGBTQ community in the country. The parliament voted Tuesday to stop transgender and intersex people from changing their gender on identity documents. Lawmakers voted to define gender on the basis of “sex at birth,” as registered on a birth certificate.
The captain of a vessel that collided with a small tour boat on the Danube in Budapest, resulting in at least seven deaths, has been arrested, police say. The 64-year-old Ukrainian national was held as a suspect over reckless misconduct in waterborne traffic leading to mass casualties. Hopes have faded that any of the 21 people missing will be found alive. South Korea’s foreign minister, Kang Kyung-wha, is due to arrive in Budapest on Friday for a joint press conference with her Hungarian counterpart Péter Szijjártó.
The EU Parliament voted to take unprecedented disciplinary action against Hungary for alleged breaches of the EU’s core values. Hungary Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his government are accused of attacks on minorities, the media, and the rule of law. Orban denies the charges. Hungary could face punitive measures including the suspension of voting rights.
The Hungarian Parliament has voted by 137 to 53 to accept the government’s request for the power to rule by decree during the coronavirus emergency. The law contains no time limit. Prime Minister Viktor Orban promised to use the extraordinary powers he has been granted “proportionately and rationally”. Monday’s vote was controversial – more than 100,000 people had signed a petition against the move.
Hungary’s government is moving to tighten its grip on the research institutions of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, despite protests by scientists against political control of the academy. Since taking power in 2010, Prime Minister Viktor Orban has tightened government control of public life, including the courts, the media and universities. His government submitted draft legislation to parliament on Wednesday that would strip the 200 year-old academy of its network of research institutions and boost state control over research.