The European Commission has started a violation procedure against Hungary over the much-discussed and recently passed “anti-gay law”. Poland is also considering a new measure. There, the authorities reacted very leniently to the “LGBT Ideology-free zones” declared by many municipalities and regions. If both cases are not resolved, the Commission may decide to go to the Court of Justice.
Hungary has already faced a lot of criticism for its law. Restrict or prohibit minors’ access to content that promotes or depicts “anomaly in self-identity based on birth gender, transgenderism, or homosexuality.” Committee chair Ursula von der Leyen has repeatedly called the law a “disgrace”.
The Commission itself now considers that the law violates European rules on at least seven points. This includes non-compliance with legislation related to the protection of personal data. Most importantly, the commission found a legal basis to prove that Hungary violated human dignity, freedom of expression, the right to respect for private life, and the right to non-discrimination.
The disclaimer that should have been placed on a children’s book at the beginning of this year is also a thorn in the panel’s side. It is a book in which gay people are introduced. According to the Hungarian authorities, they are perpetrating “behavior that deviates from the traditional division of gender roles”. This disclaimer should have made that clear. “Hungary restricts the freedom of expression of authors and publishers and unlawfully discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation,” the commission said.
Budapest will have two months to respond to the commission’s concerns.
He also started an action against Poland. There, national authorities are accused of not cooperating adequately with the commission when it requested an investigation into “LGBT-free zones”. They have been announced in various places of the country from 2019 onwards.
These are decisions in each case, but the committee fears that they violate the principle of non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. In order to achieve it, she needed the help of Warsaw, but this did not happen. Consequently, Poland impeded the Committee from exercising its powers.
In the European Parliament, Sarah Mathieu (Green) is satisfied with the infringement procedure. “Finally,” she says. It has been calling for tough penalties and fines to be imposed on those member states along with the Greens for years. The two member states have two months to respond and undo their discriminatory laws, and unfortunately I do not expect them to do so.” With regard to Poland specifically, Matteo says that “LGBT-free zones” are funded with European money. “The existence and financing of these zones is absolutely unacceptable.” .
Kathleen Van Brimpt (Vorwett) also thinks it’s right to start proceedings. “No action was not an option,” she wrote on Twitter. But it takes more than this legal process to protect the rights of the LGBT+ community across the EU. The Commission must implement its #LGBTI Action Plan as soon as possible.”
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