Activists have erected a giant, rainbow coloured heart outside Hungary’s parliament to protest against the country’s reviled anti-LGBT+ law.
LGBT+ activists from the Háttér Society and Amnesty Hungary staged the demonstration on Thursday (8 July) over the controversial law, which prohibits discussion of LGBT+ identities in schools, advertising and in the media.
Luca Dudits, spokesperson for the Háttér Society, told the Associated Press at the demonstration that “civil disobedience” is the only path left open to them in their efforts to have the law overturned.
“We will not change anything about our activists,” Dudits said, adding that the law will stigmatise LGBT+ people and will put queer youth “in danger of bullying and harassment in schools”.
Both Dudits and Amnesty Hungary leader Vig Dávid spoke at the demonstration, telling those gathered that the government can’t be allowed to see human rights as a “menu” from which they can pick.
Dudits said that the law will serve as “a breeding ground for attacks, intimidation and self-censorship” in Hungary.
Hungary’s anti-LGBT+ law has been labelled ‘a disgrace’
Hungary’s anti-LGBT+ law came into effect on Thursday (8 July) following weeks of international backlash.
On Wednesday, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen called on MEPs to condemn the country’s “shameful” law “in the strongest possible terms”.
“Homosexuality is equated with pornography,” she said at a debate in Strasbourg on Wednesday (7 July). “This legislation uses the protection of children […] to discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation.”
She added: “It is a disgrace.”
However, Hungary has refused to bow to international pressure. Gergely Gulyás, chief of staff to prime minister Viktor Orbán, insisted that the country won’t back away from its attack on the LGBT+ community.
“Brussels’ efforts to have us allow LGBT+ activists into schools and nursery schools are in vain,” he said. “We are not willing to do that.”
Meanwhile, the European Parliament has warned that Hungary could face legal consequences if it continues down its anti-LGBT+ path.
The parliament is reportedly considering inviting individual countries to sue Hungary over the law, which has been widely compared to Russia’s “gay propaganda” law.
Viktor Orbán has repeatedly argued that the law is “not about homosexuality”, claiming that it is “about the kids and the parents”.