Hungary anti-LGBTQ blitz meets backlash as election looms

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12/19/2021

Budapest (AFP) – For independent bookshop manager Janos Szakacs, Hungary’s new law banning the “promotion and display” of homosexuality to minors just makes for pointless, extra work. “This stupid law means certain books must be sealed in wrapping, and separated from the others,” he tells AFP, at his Budapest store Irok Boltja (Writers Shop in Hungarian). Introduced in July, the legislation provoked anger in Brussels and a backlash at home, where a tight parliamentary election is slated for April. But Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who frames it as a “child protection” measure, is doubling down. His government now plans to ask voters in a referendum — likely on the same day as the election — about LGBTQ issues and sex education in schools, including on the availability of information for children on gender change. “We want to protect our children from LGBTQ propaganda in the same way we protected Hungarian families from migrants,” Orban said on Tuesday, during a speech in the western city of Sopron.

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