Hungary: Increasingly hostile climate for LGBT people

Echoing developments in Russia, extreme-right parliamentarians in Hungary have tabled proposals to outlaw public discussions of homosexuality. In parallel, the Budapest police has rejected a request to hold the annual LGBT pride march in July 2012.

HungaryA member of far-right party Jobbik, which holds 47 out of 386 seats in the Hungarian Parliament, tabled three bills to forbid the positive portrayal of “disorders of sexual behavior—especially sexual relations between members of the same sex”.

Two of these bills are constitutional amendments, which would forbid public events and speeches that “propagate” what extremists consider “disorders”. The third bill would amend laws on advertising, on the media, on misdemeanours and the Criminal Code to punish such “propagation”.

The amendments foresee fines of up to HUF 150,000 (EUR 505), and up to three years of imprisonment (eight in some cases).

In related developments, last week the Budapest police refused issuing a permit for the annual LGBT pride march. As in 2011, the police pretexted they could not redirect traffic—an excuse not used for other marches along the same route. Last year’s ban was quickly overturned by the Metropolitan Court.

Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-president of the Intergroup on LGBT Rights, declared: “These repeated attempts to ban the march impede on freedom of assembly! The police can argue all they want, the Metropolitan Court already ruled the pride march legal by Hungarian standards.”

“It’s shameful for conservative powers to wage such a war against an event which most Hungarians really have no problem with—especially at a time when real issues like increasing poverty should be the centre of public attention.”

Sophie in ‘t Veld MEP, Vice-president of the LGBT Intergroup, added: “The ban of the pride for the second year in a row is a sad development in a country that used to distinguish itself by its climate of freedom and tolerance. The ban is a shameful attempt to deny LGBT people their human rights, as well as a misguided provocation of the EU.”

“The Hungarian government should not further contribute to a climate of homophobia that the likes of Jobbik feed on, but they should become the champion of LGBT rights and regain their reputation of a free, tolerant, modern nation.”