Facing International Pressure, Hungary’s Orban Defends Child Sex Change Promotion Ban Laws

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 26: A boy carries a flag during the New York City Pride March, June 26, 2016 in New York City. This year was the 46th Pride march in New York City (Photo by Eric Thayer/Getty Images)
Eric Thayer/Getty Images

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has defended new anti-paedophile laws including a ban on institutions promoting transgenderism and homosexuality to under-18s, insisting that decisions about such education are up to parents.

Critics of the Hungarian legislation and mainstream media outlets, including the U.S. government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), have compared it to the notorious Russian legislation “for the Purpose of Protecting Children from Information Advocating for a Denial of Traditional Family Values” passed in 2013 — the so-called “gay propaganda law”.

Orbán, however, insists that “education in schools must not be in conflict with the will of parents; it must at most be supplementary, its form and content must be clearly defined and it must be subject to parental consent,” and that “parents also rightly expect that on platforms used by our children, pornography, sexuality for its own sake, homosexuality and gender reassignment programs should not be available.”

He was clear, however, that “in Hungary, no one has a say in how adults live their lives” and that “a free adult should not have to give an account of his life in front of any secular authority — only before God when the time comes.”

Consequently, he stressed, the new laws do not apply “to the lives and sexual practices of adults over 18, nor to what they are exposed to as an adult in the public realm”.

“The current left-wing campaign against Hungary is further proof that today, the left is the enemy of freedom, because instead of freedom of speech, they want political correctness as defined by them, and hegemony of opinion instead of a pluralism of ideas,” Orbán said, insisting that the new law “does not conflict with any lofty ideals or European laws… [it] simply states clearly that only parents can decide on the sexual education of their children.”

Prime Minister Orbán made his case in his tenth Samizdat message — communiques named for the clandestine press which operated under the former communist regime, protested by the Hungarian when he was a younger man, which his national-conservative government launched to get around the fact that, in his view, “European mainstream media exclude, neglect and ban thoughts which are not compatible with the world view they relay day in day out.”

Returning to that theme in his message defending the new laws, Orbán said: “Let’s face it, this movement is eternal, and its new slogan is no longer ‘Proletarians of the world, unite!’ but ‘Liberals of the world, unite!’ This, of course, reinforces the Central European conviction that today’s liberals are in fact communists with degrees.”

Elsewhere, Hungarian government spokesman Zoltán Kovács has underlined the fact that restrictions on LGBT content aimed at children are not the primary purpose of the legislation, but toughening up the law with respect to paedophiles, for example by making the penal code “stricter in the case of sexual offenders, with penalties increasing and no statute of limitation for the most serious crimes”.

The law also creates a searchable photographic register of child predators and bans them from a number of jobs where they might come into contact with children.

While critics have not been able to bring themselves to oppose these anti-paedophile measures, they have complained that they have been bundled together with the new rules on LGBT content, with the director of Amnesty International in Hungary, David Vig, alleging that it “appears to be a deliberate attempt by the Hungarian government to conflate paedophilia with LGBTI people”.

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