European Commission President von der Leyen says they are assessing if new laws in Hungary breach EU law

Ursula von der Leyen says she is "very concerned" at the introduction of new legislation which bans the "promotion" of LGBTQ+ identities to minors.

ursula von der leyen

Following the introduction of new legislation which bans the “promotion” of LGBTQ+ identities to minors in Hungary, Ursula von der Leyen has said the European Commission is assessing whether it “breaches relevant EU legislation”.

The amendments, which LGBTQ+ advocates say directly discriminate against LGBTQ+ people, were tabled by the ruling FIDESZ party and introduce a ban on the “portrayal and the promotion of gender identity different from sex at birth, the change of sex and homosexuality” for persons under 18.

The amendments to Hungarian legislation have been met with widespread criticism within Europe and further afield. Following the law’s introduction, thousands gathered in Hungary’s capital, Budapest, to protest the “discriminatory” bill.

Europe’s leading LGBTQ+ rights organisation, ILGA-Europe, yesterday (June 16) called on the EU to make its member state accountable.

The US State Department said the legislation “raises concerns” and includes restrictions that “have no place in democratic society”.

Following pressure to act, European Commission officials have said they would “look into it in more detail”.

“We are not going to be shy, we are going to express our views or opinions,” European Commission spokeswoman Dana Spinant insisted.

“But we need to base those on a thorough reflection on what is actually in that law, and what the problems with that law would be.”

“What we do will depend on what we find out,” Spinant said, pointing to the “important and legal and political steps” the EU has taken to build a strategy to protect LGBTQI rights.

“We will need to see under what aspects and on what points the legislation complies or fails to comply with EU legislation or with our principles.”

European Commision president Ursula von der Leyen tweeted that she is “very concerned” about Hungary’s action and reiterated that the Commission is assessing if it breaches EU legislation.

“Very concerned about the new law in Hungary. We are assessing if it breaches relevant EU legislation. I believe in a Europe which embraces diversity, not one which hides it from our children. No one should be discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation”, von der Leyen wrote.

A “crackdown” on LGBTQ+ rights has been happening in Hungary since late last year.

In November, the town of Nagykáta banned ‘‘dissemination and promotion of LGBTIQ propaganda,” while in December, a range of measures further stripped rights from LGBTQ+ people.

In March this year, the EU Parliament adopted a resolution declaring Europe an LGBTIQ Freedom Zone, responding to the rise of homophobia in EU member states such as Poland and Hungary.

Following the decision by the EU Parliament, MEPs released the statement, “LGBTIQ persons everywhere in the EU should enjoy the freedom to live and publicly show their sexual orientation and gender identity without fear of intolerance, discrimination or persecution, and authorities at all levels of governance across the EU should protect and promote equality and the fundamental rights of all, including LGBTIQ persons.”

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