Press release: ‘Fidesz continues attacks on LGBTIQ NGOs after referendum’, or ‘a lesson in not knowing how to lose’

Brussels, 12 April 2022

The referendum on LGBTIQ issues proposed by the Fidesz-led government in Hungary was categorically invalid, as it did not reach the minimum threshold of 50% for either answer to any of its four questions ( ‘yes’ or ‘no’). In turn, each of the four questions gathered a majority of invalid votes, which led to its invalidation. A large amount of voters deliberately invalidated their ballots to protest against the referendum and show that they do not agree with the government’s targeting of the LGBTIQ community and its misleading questions.

Despite the government’s utter failure to mobilise citizens to legitimate its anti-LGBTIQ policy- and law-making, the government is now suing NGOs who campaigned against the referendum, attempting to stifle their freedom of expression. A total of 16 NGOs received fines amounting to a staggering €24.000. The deadline for appealing the fines was yesterday and the ruling is expected to be published later this week.

Pierre Karleskind MEP (Renew Europe), LGBTI Intergroup Vice-President, comments:

This government took no time to go after the LGBTIQ community once again. Civic space is not only shrinking, it its forcefully being shut down. These attempts to stifle public participation through intimidation are a tactic to create a chilling effect on freedom of association.  A reason more for us to work swiftly on a legislation to protect LGBTI-activists against Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAAPs).

Maria Walsh MEP (EPP), LGBTI Intergroup Vice-President, concludes:

Hungarian voters do not support this government’s anti-LGBTIQ stance, but Orbán persists. This highlights why the values of the EU such as democracy and fundamental rights are under siege in Hungary. It is imperative that the Article 7 – Rule of Law proceedings lead to fruitful results. We call on the Council to proceed with discussions and to put forward binding recommendations on Hungary so that the EU’s architecture of freedoms is preserved.

Background information:

On 3rd April 2022, Hungarians took to the polls to elect their next parliament and government. 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?”

Press contacts:

Office of Pierre Karleskind MEP – Victor Belaud (

Office of Maria Walsh MEP – Barry McCarthy (