Hungary will hold a referendum in April on its controversial law that bans educational materials and programs for children that are considered to promote homosexuality and gender reassignment, the government announced Tuesday.
The law, which effectively prohibits any discussion of LGBTQ themes in schools, was widely criticized by the opposition and civil rights activists when it was passed in June 2021. The European Union launched legal action against Hungary, a member state, over the legislation, saying that it violates the “fundamental rights of LGBTIQ people” under EU law. The referendum is seen as a response by Hungary’s hard-line nationalist government to this criticism. The vote will be held on April 3, the same day as the country’s general parliamentary election.
Hungary’s right-wing populist Prime Minister Viktor Orban has argued that the law is not about violating LGBTQ rights, but about preserving parents’ rights to choose how to educate their children.