Press release: Hungary: coupling the LGBTIQ referendum with the elections is a continued effort to scapegoat LGBTIQ persons
Brussels, 1 April 2022
This Sunday, 3rd April, Hungarians take to the polls to elect their next parliament and government. The elections will prove decisive in a context where the current government faces criticism of corruption and deteriorating media freedom, democracy, fundamental rights and the rule of law.
Not coincidentally, the referendum proposed by the Fidesz-led government on LGBTIQ issues was scheduled for the exact same day. The proposed referendum asks four questions: 1) “Do you support the teaching of sexual orientation to minors in public education institutions without parental consent?”; 2) “Do you support the promotion of sex reassignment therapy for underage children?”, 3) “Do you support the unrestricted exposure of underage children to sexually explicit media content that may affect their development?” and 4)“Do you support the showing of sex-change media content to minors?”
The strategy of the government is to detract legitimacy for its anti-LGBTIQ policies while benefitting from turnout to the polls. At the same time, it asks questions in bad faith to continue scapegoating LGBTIQ people and hold on to power.
Malin Björk MEP (Left), Vice-President of the LGBTI Intergroup and European shadow rapporteur on the rule of law situation in Hungary, comments:
Orbán and his Fidesz party are afraid of losing the elections, and hope that this attack on LGBTIQ people, disguised as a referendum, will mobilise their voters and divert attention from their anti-democratic political agenda. Calling this referendum also makes it clear that the Fidesz government intends to continue with its awful anti-LGBTIQ policy-making. And let us not forget that this referendum is also a direct response to the Commission’s infringement procedures over last year’s anti-LGBTIQ law.
Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield MEP (Greens-EFA), LGBTI Intergroup Member and European rapporteur on the rule of law situation in Hungary, concludes:
Orban wants us to believe that Hungarians share his LGBTIQ-phobic views, but that is not the case. This referendum at the same time as the elections is a political attempt to impose far-right views on the Hungarian people. When most Hungarians support equality, why does the government act so decisively against them? This deterioration of freedom and fundamental rights cannot be tolerated anymore.
Hungary is currently the subject of an Article 7 TEU procedure, started by the European Parliament in 2018. On 15 July 2021, the Commission initiated infringement procedures against Hungary due to the ‘anti-LGBTIQ’ law adopted in Parliament.
 European Parliament (12 September 2018), “Rule of law in Hungary: Parliament calls on the EU to act”, accessible at https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20180906IPR12104/rule-of-law-in-hungary-parliament-calls-on-the-eu-to-act.
 European Commission (15 July 2021), “EU founding values: Commission starts legal action against Hungary and Poland for violations of fundamental rights of LGBTIQ people”, accessible at https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_21_3668.
Office of Malin Björk MEP – Roger Falk (Roger.Falk@ep.europa.eu)
Office of Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield MEP – Jessica Machacova (Jessica.Machacova@ep.europa.eu)