Close to the end of June 2021, Hungary passed a law, imposing a ban on any LGBTIQ+ references for minors, which law led to several controversies in the EU. This implies that homosexual individuals are banned from appearing in educational matters or TV programmes in instances aimed for individuals under 18 years of age. This law passed with 157 votes in favour to one against in the Hungarian national assembly. Members of Parliament forming part of the party in government, disregarded a plea from one of Europe’s leading human rights officials. This official advised that this law should be abandoned due to a provocation of the rights and identities of LGBTIQ+ persons.
The Hungarian government believes that if children under 18 years of age have access to such information, one would be promoting homosexuality or gender change. This was not the first discriminatory action executed by the Fidesz party. In 2019, Coca-Cola products were boycotted because they used anti-discriminatory slogans and cheerful homosexual couples in an advertisement.
EU authorities were called to act on this issue as Anna Donáth, who forms part of the Hungarian opposition, stated that “the law is incompatible with the fundamental values of European democratic societies as well as the values of the Hungarian citizens and is only the latest of many shameful attacks on LGBTIQ rights”.
Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission’s President, stated that the Hungarian bill is a disgrace because it discriminates against individuals based on their sexual orientation. She pointed out that such a bill opposes the fundamental values of the EU, which are human dignity, equality, and respect for human rights. Von der Leyen publicly stated that:
“I believe in a European Union where you are free to be who you are and love whomever you want. I will use all the powers of the commission to ensure that the rights of all EU citizens are guaranteed. Whoever they are and wherever they live within the European Union”.
The violations of human rights of LGBTIQ+ individuals present a significant political agenda that results in destroying democracy and rule of law. Since Article 7 was provoked, Hungary has not improved their situation regarding the rule of law and fundamental rights. This shows the absence of actions and responsibilities taken by the Council over the years.
Article 7 TEU states that the EU has the right to suspend certain rights from a Member State when it is identified that a state has breached the EU’s founding values. Therefore, MEPs are pushing the European Commission to take serious actions through its tools in the Court of Justice. It was also encouraged that Member States should bring this issue to the Court of Justice if the Commission does not take appropriate actions. Apart from this, Member States can also launch an inter-state application to the European Court of Human Rights.