Human rights NGOs are calling on European Union countries to join the Commission’s court case against Hungary over a controversial law they say is “anti-LGBTIQ+ propaganda”.
Brussels initiated its infringement procedure against Budapest in July 2021, shortly after the ultraconservative government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban adopted the law it argued will help prevent, detect, and punish sexual criminal offences against minors.
The legislation prohibits minors from accessing content and advertisements that “promote or portray” the so-called “divergence from self-identity corresponding to sex at birth, sex change or homosexuality”.
The European Commission says the law violates internal market rules, the fundamental rights of individuals and EU values.
The infringement procedure was published in the Official Journal of the EU on Monday, which three NGOs — Forbidden Colours, H?tt?r Society and Reclaim — marked by launching a petition “to remind EU member states of their commitments and to ask them to provide ‘written observations’ on the case by 27 March 2023,” they said in a statement.
They expect at least 20 EU countries to engage in the proceedings which they say could become the largest human rights infringement procedure ever brought in front of the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Belgium has already said it will take part.
“The fight against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression has always been a priority for our country. We note that the rights of the LGBTQI+ community are under increasing pressure in many places, including within Europe. That was made clear to us again last week during a meeting with, among others, human rights NGOs, which was organised at my request during my visit to Hungary,” Belgian Minister of European Affairs Hadja Lahbib said.
“It is a worrying trend that needs to be reversed. That is why Belgium – after putting the case on the international agenda – will now also intervene before the European Court of Justice to defend the rights of LGBTQI+ people. Our country has the firm ambition to continue playing a pioneering role both nationally and internationally,” she added.
Esther Martinez, Founder and Executive Director of Reclaim, told Euronews she expects the European Court of Justice to rule against Hungary.
“The government will have to repeal the law otherwise they will face financial fines,” she said.