The new law banning LGBTQ content in schools “is not against homosexuality,” says the populist leader at the EU summit.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has strongly defended a new law in his country banning LGBTQ content in schools as he attended a European Union summit in Brussels dominated by growing controversy over the issue.
“This is not against homosexuality, any sexual interference. It’s not about homosexuals,” Orban said.
“It’s about the rights of children and parents,” he said, adding that he would not withdraw the legislation despite fierce public criticism from most of his EU counterparts.
Leaders of 17 EU countries signed a letter on Thursday that, while not directly mentioning Hungary, deplored “threats to fundamental rights, and in particular the principle of non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation. “.
It came after a more explicit joint statement earlier this week from the same countries, including heavyweights Germany, France, Italy and Spain, which raised “serious concerns” over Hungarian law.
The question was put at the forefront of EU politics this week when UEFA, the government of European football, rejected a Munich plan to illuminate its stadium in rainbow colors for a Germany- match. Hungary Wednesday.
An EU official said the growing debate over Hungarian law has become “quite important” and will likely be chewed up during a working dinner.
“Fundamental value of the EU”
Some EU leaders following Orban along the red carpet in the summit chamber were openly biting about the legislation.
“The Hungarian authorities have violated a fundamental value of the European Union in terms of the measures it adopts,” said Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin.
“We’re going to articulate very strongly our vision on this tonight.”
Luxembourg’s prime minister, Xavier Bettel, said he would tell Orban “his comments and laws have been unacceptable”.
French President Emmanuel Macron has been more outspoken, saying he was “always cautious” about asking another EU country to withdraw the legislation.
“But I will defend our values and say that the law … does not seem to me in line with our values,” he said, adding that he hoped that “dialogue” with Orban would change the law.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who had already called the Hungarian law “wrong”, made no mention of it when she arrived and gave a summary of the summit’s “complete agenda”.
On Wednesday, European Commission Commissioner Ursula von der Leyen said the legislation “clearly discriminates against people because of their sexual orientation” and said its executive will have to challenge its legal basis.
Orban, however, was slammed for the assault, accusing EU leaders of not having read the text of the law.
He said if he was growing up, he would tell them “it’s about how a child learns about sexuality, which is, in any case, a difficult and complicated question, and decisions about it are just a matter for the parents.”