In battle with EU, Hungary plans referendum on child protection issues

Photo: EPA

Hungary announced on Wednesday a plan to call a referendum on child protection issues in attempt to counter pressure from the EU over legislation which the bloc says discriminates against LGBT people, news wires reported.

Stepping up a battle of cultures with the Commission, PM Viktor Orban accused the EU executive of abusing its powers in challenging recent amendments to Hungary's education and child protection laws. "The future of our children is at stake, so we cannot cede ground in this issue," he said in a Facebook video. The Commission did not immediately comment on the plan.

Orban, who has been in power since 2010 and faces an election next April, portrays himself as a defender of traditional Christian values from Western liberalism. An anti-LGBT law, which came into force this month, bans the use of materials seen as promoting homosexuality and gender change at schools. It increased friction with the Commission.

"In the past weeks, Brussels has clearly attacked Hungary over its child protection law. Hungarian laws do not permit sexual propaganda in kindergartens, schools, on television and in advertisements," Orban said. He did not announce when the planned referendum would be held but said it would include five questions.

These would include asking Hungarians whether they support the holding of sexual orientation workshops in schools without their consent, or whether they believe gender reassignment procedures should be promoted among children. The questions would also include whether content that could affect children's sexual orientation should be shown without any restrictions, or that gender reassignment procedures should be made available to children as well.

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