On Monday, February 13, the Official Journal of the EU published a summary of the case brought by the European Commission against Hungary because of its anti-LGBTQ+ law. Several NGOs are now urging all EU member states to join what is expected to become the largest human rights infringement procedure ever brought before the Court of Justice of the European Union.
The European Commission initiated its infringement procedures against Hungary in July 2021, following the vote of a Hungarian law prohibiting the “portrayal and the promotion of gender identity different from sex at birth, the change of sex and homosexuality”, which has since been dubbed an “anti-LGBTQ+ propaganda” law.
According to the Commission, such law violates internal market rules, the fundamental rights of LGBTQ+ people and the core values of the European Union. For this reason and because Hungary failed to rectify its violations, Brussels referred the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union in December 2022.
After the infringement procedure was published in the Official Journal of the EU on Monday, three human rights organisations, Forbidden Colours, Háttér Society and Reclaim, launched 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”. The publication of the infringement procedure opens a six-week window during which all EU member states are invited to send “written observations” to the Court and join the case against Hungary.
The three NGOs expect more than 20 EU countries to join the court case against Hungary and its anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, which would make it the largest human rights infringement procedure ever brought before the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Belgium has already announced that it will take part in the proceedings. Commenting on the announcement, Belgian Minister of European Affairs Hadja Lahbib said: “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.”
She then added, “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”.
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