Brussels (Brussels Morning) Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte was the most vocal critic of Hungary’s new anti-LGBT law on Thursday evening, leading the chorus of EU leaders criticising Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s government during the EU summit in Brussels.
A livid Rutte reportedly invited Hungary to leave the EU by applying the same Article 50 provision that the UK used, having told Orbán that his country has no business being in the Union any longer. Despite being the most vociferous, Rutte was not the only leader to criticise the Hungarian law, which 16 other EU member-states condemned too.
The Hungarian law was initially presented to the public as a law against paedophilia, then gradually amended to reference homosexuality and, ultimately, to ban all “promotion or depiction” of homosexuality in a manner which could be accessed by minors.
Critics note that the law wrongly links homosexuality with paedophilia, a claim thoroughly debunked by science, and maintain that its effect would be to deprive vulnerable young people of vital mental health support. As written, the law would effectively ban educating children about the very existence of homosexuality, as well as require popular entertainment such as Harry Potter or Friends to be labelled “18+” and banned from airing on TV during prime time.
Without responding directly to any of the criticisms, Orbán defended the law by claiming it merely served to protect the rights of parents and children. He insisted that it does not discriminate against gays in any way. Talking to reporters, Orbán went as far as to describe himself as a protector of homosexuals, pointing to the fact that he fought against the communist regime, a time when homosexuality was punished.
Luxembourg’s Prime Minister, Xavier Bette,l appealed to Orbán to repeal the law on a more personal basis. He described the hardships he had faced as a gay man, pointing out that he hadn’t chosen to be gay, and that certainly he had never been influenced by a TV advert to become gay. “That’s not how life works. It’s in me, I didn’t choose it,” Bettel declared.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen previously announced that the Commission would fight the law, which most likely means it could be taken to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). In a 2017 precedent, the Court already found a similar law, enacted in Russia, to be discriminatory against LGBT people.