Hungary's parliament approves 2022 referendum on LGBT issues

A woman dances during a gay pride parade in Budapest in July.
A woman dances during a gay pride parade in Budapest in July. Copyright AP Photo/Anna Szilagyi
By Euronews with AP
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The ruling conservative Fidesz party says the referendum could be held on the same day as next year's national elections.


Hungary's parliament has approved the government's plan to hold a national referendum on LGBT issues.

The move is the latest step by the Hungarian authorities that critics say is intended to limit minority rights.

The decision to call the referendum was approved with 129 votes in favour and none against. Opposition lawmakers abstained from voting on the resolution.

The proposed referendum will include questions on sex education programmes in schools and the availability of information for children on gender reassignment.

Hungarian citizens will also be asked whether they support a ban on the publication of LGBT content that "influences the development of underage children".

Earlier this year, Budapest announced it would seek to hold a referendum after passing a law that banned the “depiction or promotion” of homosexuality to children.

The controversial anti-LGBT legislation has been widely criticised as discriminatory by human rights groups.

The ruling conservative Fidesz party said the law aimed to crackdown on paedophilia, but critics say it violated fundamental rights and limits sex education in schools.

The Hungarian government also argued that the bill left decisions on the sexual education of children solely in the hands of parents.

A number of European Union member states condemned the law, while the EU Commission launched legal proceedings against Hungary.

Based on newly adopted rules, the referendum can be held on the same day as the 2022 national elections, when Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his Fidesz party are expected to face their toughest challenge since coming to power in 2010.

The government says that holding the referendum on Election Day would save money, but no formal date has been set.

On Monday, the head of Orban’s Cabinet office, Antal Rogan, also told a parliamentary committee that the government would conduct a major campaign ahead of the referendum to convince voters to vote against “LGBTQ propaganda.”

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