Accessibility links

Breaking News

EU Executive Launches Proceedings Against Hungary, Poland Over LGBT 'Discrimination'

A demonstrator holds a rainbow flag at a rally in Budapest protesting against a law that bans LGBT content and materials in schools. (file photo)
A demonstrator holds a rainbow flag at a rally in Budapest protesting against a law that bans LGBT content and materials in schools. (file photo)

The European Union's executive says it has opened legal action against Hungary and Poland for discrimination against the LGBT communities in the two member states.

The European Commission said on July 15 that its action against Hungary was related to a new law that bans schools using materials deemed as promoting homosexuality, which many in the EU have slammed as an attack on the rights of LGBT people by stigmatizing sexual minorities and stifling discourse on sexual orientation.

A second case stems from authorities obliging the publisher of a book for children presenting LGBT people to include a disclaimer that the book depicts forms of "behavior deviating from traditional gender roles."

The action against Poland relates to the decision by some regions and municipalities to declare themselves "LGBT-ideology free zones" and the failure by authorities to respond to inquiries on the matter.

“The Commission is launching infringement procedures against Hungary and Poland related to the equality and the protection of fundamental rights,” it said.

“The two Member States now have two months to respond to the arguments put forward by the Commission. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to send them a reasoned opinion and in a further step refer them to the Court of Justice of the European Union,” the Commission added.

In Hungary, the law has caused anxiety in the LGBT community and added uncertainty to life under Prime Minister Viktor 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.

In Poland, almost 100 local authorities have all passed resolutions opposing “LGBT ideology” - something the government says has no legal ramifications -- or have signed a "family charter," which activists says only supports heterosexual, married couples.

Advocates say the "LGBT-free zones" have bred violence, including attacks on two Pride marches in 2019, and contributed to poor mental health among young, LGBT Poles.

With reporting by Reuters and dpa
  • 16x9 Image


    RFE/RL journalists report the news in 27 languages in 23 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established. We provide what many people cannot get locally: uncensored news, responsible discussion, and open debate.