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EU to press on with its legal case against Hungary despite referendum announcement

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By Euronews
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EU to press on with its legal case against Hungary despite referendum announcement
Copyright  GERGELY BESENYEI/AFP
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Brussels is standing by its move to launch legal action against Hungary over a new law that critics say discriminates against LGBT people.

The law, officially called the Children Protection Act, has the stated purpose of safeguarding children's well-being and fighting paedophilia.

But the European Commission disagrees and began legal action against Budapest earlier this month.

Then, earlier this week, Hungary Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced he was going to hold a referendum on the controversial law.

But Brussels said today it views the vote as an "internal procedure" and will press ahead with the legal case.

"We find Hungary has failed to explain why the exposure of children to LGBTIQ content as such would be detrimental to their well-being or not in line with the best interests of the child," Tim McPhie, spokesman for the European Commission, said on Thursday. "They discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation."

The new Hungarian law prohibits or limits access to content that promotes or portrays gender change or homosexuality. Three of the five referendum questions will be on the promotion of gender reassignment surgery for children.

According to French MEP Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield though, the law would do the bare minimum to protect children.

"The protecting aspect is a very-very low part of the law, and the rest of the law is about preventing children and teenagers from having access to normal sexual information, normal sanitary information, which is very needed and even information to construct yourself. Very simple normal information is prevented by this law. The child protection aspect is so minimum."

The referendum will be held later this year or early next, before Hungary's parliamentary elections in April.