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Hungarian PM Says EU Action On LGBT Rights Amounts To 'Legal Hooliganism'

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (file photo)

The legal action launched against Hungary by the European Commission over measures it said discriminated against LGBT people amounts to "legal hooliganism" and is "shameful," Prime Minister Viktor Orban told state radio on July 16.

The commission -- the European Union's executive arm -- opened legal action against Hungary on July 15 in relation 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 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people by stigmatizing sexual minorities and stifling discourse on sexual orientation.

Commission head Ursula von der Leyen has called the legislation a "disgrace."

Orban told state radio on July 16, "This (EU infringement action) is legalized hooliganism... The European Commission's stance is shameful."

Orban said EU authorities were trying to impose their will on Hungary over how children should be raised.

He said the debate offered Hungarians a glimpse into "European life," into what went on in schools in Germany, reiterating that Hungary would not let LGBT activists "march up and down" in schools promoting what he called sexual propaganda.

Orban’s right-wing nationalist government has stepped up its campaign against LGBT people as part of an ongoing drive to depict itself as the guardian of Christian values against perceived Western liberalism that also included blocking migrants from transiting Hungary and closing down private-owned liberal media institutions.

Orban, in power since 2010, faces a difficult election next year amid increasing economic difficulties exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

The anti-LGBT campaign looks likely to feature prominently on his political platform ahead of the elections.

The infringement action, which has also targeted Poland after some municipalities there declared themselves "LGBT-ideology free zones,"
marks the latest confrontation between the EU and some of the bloc's newer eastern European members over the rule of law, migration, and press freedoms.

On July 16, Orban also predicted another dispute over EU recovery funds, which have been withheld by Brussels but which he said Hungary would eventually obtain.

With reporting by Reuters
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    RFE/RL's Hungarian Service

    RFE/RL’s Hungarian Service -- closed after the Cold War ended -- was relaunched on September 8, 2020, in response to the country’s steep decline in media freedom. It's an entirely digital service dedicated to serving the public interest by representing a diversity of views and providing reliable, unbiased reporting about the issues audiences care about most.