With 157 votes in favour, 1 against and 0 abstentions, the ruling party voted in favour of the paedophile law in parliament on Tuesday. Opposition parties pulled out before the vote, signalling their disagreement with the bill.
The bill, passed by the ruling party conflates paedophilia with homosexuality. The anti-gay propaganda law, proposed by the government side and modelled on the Russian model, also severely restricts freedom of expression and children’s rights, banning LGBTQI education programmes in schools and social advertising.
The new law also bans the promotion and display of homosexuality and gender reassignment, and will prohibit content or advertising that depicts sexuality for its own sake, depicts a deviation from the identity of the sex of birth or “promotes or displays” homosexuality to persons under 18. And only an organisation registered by a public body could provide sex education in schools.
The new law has provoked considerable public outrage, with more than 10,000 people demonstrating against it on Kossuth Square on Monday evening. In addition to opposition parties, civil organisations and the National Association of Hungarian Journalists, RTL Klub also voiced its protest, arguing that the new law will mean that even “Harry Potter” and “Friends” can only be shown late at night, with an 18-ring banner.
The Hungarian film industry and cultural scene are also protesting against the seriously discriminatory law. In response to our question, they have indicated anonymously that if their letter to the President of the Republic fails, they are prepared to take to the streets to demand an amendment to the constitution. The NGOs representing artists and film professionals are preparing a joint action.
According to a source working on an international production currently in Budapest, US cast and crew members have indicated to their Hungarian colleagues that they would even support action against the law, which is eerily similar to what happened in Georgia a few years ago.