Viktor Orbán wins re-election while pushing anti-LGBTQ+ referendum 

The re-election of the Hungarian prime minister for his 4th mandate comes as bad news for LGBTQ+ citizens.

Viktor Orbán, who was re-elected as Hungary's prime minister while an anti-LGBTQ+ referendum failed.
Image: Via Twitter - @Le_Figaro

Viktor Orbán has just been re-elected for his fourth consecutive term (and fifth in total) as Hungary’s prime minister. On the same day, Orbán and his party Fidesz won the elections, a referendum on anti-LGBTQ+ legislation failed when less than half of the voters cast valid ballots.

On Sunday, Hungary held parliamentary elections where right-wing politician Orbán, who has served as prime minister of Hungary since 2010, was confirmed for a fourth term and his party won the majority of votes in the Parliament. They won against a coalition of opposing political forces that had united with the specific purpose of ending Orbán’s regime. Since he first became prime minister, he has been pushing the country toward authoritarianism and tampering with democratic rules. 

His government has been particularly harsh against the Hungarian LGBTQ+ community, having already outlawed same-sex marriage and banned Trans people from changing their legal gender. Moreover, last year Orbán and his party passed legislation for the protection of children which held deeply anti-LGBTQ+ views and was considered a violation of the fundamental rights of queer folks. The law prohibits the depiction of same-sex relationships or gender reassignment in media content destined for minors. It is particularly controversial because it equates homosexuality with paedophilia. 

In an attempt to gain popular support for such legislation, the government held a nationwide referendum on the same day of the elections. Orbán justified the referendum by saying that “Brussels has clearly attacked Hungary in recent weeks because of the child protection law”, referring to the action taken by the EU to sanction Hungary for such legislation and to make sure LGBTQ+ rights were upheld.

In the referendum, voters were asked to reply to the following questions:

  • Do you support allowing children in public schools to participate in sexual orientation classes without parental consent?
  • Do you support giving children information about gender reassignment treatments?
  • Are you in favour of allowing media content of a sexual nature that affects children’s development to be presented to them without restrictions?
  • Are you in favour of children being shown gender reassignment media content?

The opposition, as well as many LGBTQ+ and human rights organisations, called on Hungarians to cast invalid votes to show their opposition to the hateful and discriminatory anti-LGBTQ+ referendum, the questions of which served as mere propaganda for Orbán and his party. And that was what happened on Sunday when many voters cast invalid votes or did not vote for the referendum at all.

This can only be considered a partial victory, as the failure of the referendum does not invalidate the law, which will still be effective in Hungary. Moreover, Orbán is still going to be in power and his anti-LGBTQ+ views are still there to threaten the peaceful lives of Hungarian queer citizens. The leader of Hungary’s oldest LGBTQ+ organisation, Luca Dudits, expressed her concern by saying: “In Hungary, LGBTQ people are unfortunately very much discriminated against in their everyday lives”. She added that “Unfortunately since the anti-LGBTQ legislation has started, they have become more and more regular because I think that this very homophobic and transphobic minority feels very much encouraged by the government’s propaganda”.

Before the elections, Orbán spoke at a rally with thousands of people saying: “We’re going to stop the gender madness, and we won’t let our children get molested.” His win is even more controversial considering Hungary’s stance on the current situation in Ukraine after Russia’s invasion. In the course of his years as a prime minister, Orbán has formed close ties with Russian President Putin and he has positioned his party Fidesz as the “peace” party, saying that Hungary had nothing to do with the war.

During the speech after his victory, he commented with the following words: “This victory is one to remember, maybe even for the rest of our lives, because we had the biggest [range of opponents to] overpower. The left at home, the international left, the bureaucrats in Brussels, the money of the Soros empire, the international media and even the Ukrainian president in the end”.

© 2022 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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