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Hungary votes on anti-LGBT bills amid protests

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By Euronews with AP
A drag queen waves a rainbow flag during an LGBT rights demonstration in front of the Hungarian Parliament building in Budapest, Hungary on June. 14, 2021.
A drag queen waves a rainbow flag during an LGBT rights demonstration in front of the Hungarian Parliament building in Budapest, Hungary on June. 14, 2021.   -   Copyright  Bela Szandelszky/AP
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Hungarian lawmakers will vote on Tuesday on bills banning any content portraying or promoting homosexuality or sex reassignment to anyone under 18.

Thousands of LGBT activists and others demonstrated in front of the Parliament in Budapest on Monday evening chanting “we are here!” as they urged lawmakers to reject plans for the legislation.

“We have a lot to do before tomorrow’s vote: We have to tell, we have to write to every member of Parliament, why this bill is anti-child, anti-family and anti-human,” David Vig, director of Hungary’s branch of Amnesty International, told those gathered.

The legislation is expected to pass, given that Fidesz, Prime Minister Viktor Orban's conservative ruling party, has a majority.

It includes a measure aimed at fighting paedophilia along with other amendments prohibiting transmitting information about LGBT people or same-sex relationships to youth.

'Tool of discrimination'

Fidesz describes the legislation as an effort to protect children from paedophilia.

But Dunja Mijatovic, the commissioner for human rights at the Council of Europe, called the argument "misleading and false " and urged Hungarian lawmakers to reject the bills.

“The proposed legislative amendments run counter to international and European human rights standards. It is misleading and false to claim that they are being introduced to protect children,” she said in a statement Monday.

The Hungarian amendments would outlaw any depiction or discussion of different gender identity and sexual orientation in public, including in schools and the media.

Some human rights groups have compared the planned ban to a discriminatory 2013 Russian law banning so-called gay “propaganda,” widely viewed as a tool of discrimination.

“I urge you to remain vigilant against such initiatives to push through measures that limit human rights or stigmatise ... some members of society,” Mijatovic said.

Mijatovic said such legislation reinforces prejudice against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Divided opposition

The opposition in Hungary is divided on the bill.

The right-wing Jobbik party said Monday it would vote in favour despite what it said were some flaws, because it agrees that the “promotion” of gender change and “all kinds of sexual orientations” shouldn’t be allowed in schools.

Other parties plan to boycott the vote. The centre-left Democratic Coalition said it would boycott the entire Tuesday session to protest Fidesz’s “hate-mongering" and "discriminatory politics.”