Activists led by the Hungarian office of Amnesty International have protested against a controversial law banning materials that could be seen as promoting homosexuality or gender change to minors, as opposition to the legislation continues to grow.
The protesters gathered on July 8 in front of Hungary's parliament, which last month passed the legislation prohibiting the “display or promotion" of homosexuality or gender reassignment in television shows, films, and sexual education programs to kids in schools.
The law has sparked widespread condemnation. Critics have slammied the law as an attack on the rights of LGBT people, saying it stigmatizes sexual minorities and seeks to stifle discourse on sexual orientation.
“We protest at Hungary’s Parliament and stand with the 100,000 LGBTQ youth who will face the terrible consequences (because of the law),” Amnesty International said in a tweet.
“Survey shows: majority of Hungarians are against the law and stand for equality!” it added.
Some EU leaders have blasted Prime Minister Viktor Orban over his claims that the law isn't against homosexuality and is necessary to ensure that the sexual education of children under 18 is the sole domain of parents.
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on July 7 called the law a “disgrace.” Lawmakers from the bloc are scheduled to address the legislation at a session of the EU parliament on July 8.
But Orban on July 8 vowed not to give in to EU pressure.
"The European Parliament and the European Commission want that we let LGBTQ activists and organizations into the kindergartens and schools. Hungary does not want that," Orban said on his official Facebook page.
"Here Brussels bureaucrats have no business at all, no matter what they do we will not let LGBTQ activists among our children." The issue was one of national sovereignty, he added.
The law has caused anxiety in Hungary’s LGBT community and added uncertainty to life under Orban’s nationalist government, which has stepped up its campaign against LGBT people ahead of elections next year.
Orban, in power since 2010, has grown increasingly radical on social policy in what he portrays as a fight to safeguard traditional Christian values from Western liberalism.
The law has sent a chill across the country’s educators, who fear they could face punishment if LGBT issues come up in school.