Brussels (Brussels Morning) Thousands of Hungarians attended the annual Budapest Pride Parade on Saturday, voicing their opposition against the country’s anti-LGBT law, in what the organisers claim was a record turn-out for the event.
This year’s Pride took place under the shadow of the “Children Protection Act”, the legislation introduced earlier this month, which effectively criminalises educating young people about LGBT issues, banning many popular books, and forcing many TV series and movies to late-night time slots.
The law, originally intended to protect children from paedophiles, was amended during the legislative process to conflate paedophilia and homosexuality. It ended up banning all “promotion or depiction” of homosexuality to under-18s, while using wording sufficiently vague to allow the courts to determine what constitutes such depiction or promotion.
The law was fiercely condemned by Western EU member states. The European Commission launched an infringement procedure against Hungary earlier this month, claiming that the law is discriminatory and in breach of EU law and fundamental values.
Hungary’s Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, who won the country’s last election in a landslide on a platform of “defending Hungary from illegal migrants”, is now focusing on the “threat to Christian values” posed by sexual minorities. He claims that children in Germany are exposed to LGBT “sexual propaganda” and has vowed that he will never allow Hungarian children to suffer the same treatment.
Political analysts and critics of Orbán believe that the PM is aiming to create a new divisive issue in society, his goal being to survive next year’s parliamentary elections, where he is facing united opposition. Focusing the narrative on LGBT issues, and presenting himself as a protector of children is viewed as a ploy to help distract media and voters from discussing allegations of corruption.
The most likely opposition leader, liberal Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony attended the Budapest Pride on Saturday, along with several other members of opposition parties. German Greens MEP, Terry Reintke, kicked off the Budapest march, declaring that the eyes of Europe were on Budapest, and that those supporting the march’s objectives number “many, many more” than the thousands that gathered for Saturday’s parade.