Hungary is in the crosshairs of the European Union (EU). The law passed on June 15 by the Budapest Parliament has provoked resounding reactions. The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, called it a “disgrace”. The Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, has promoted a letter of protest addressed to the Hungarian government (also signed by Italy) and thundered: with this law “Hungary has no place in the EU”. But what is so execrable about this text? Some of the press has used the epithet “homophobic”, thus conditioning public opinion. Few, however, are actually familiar with its contents. Therefore, iFamNews asked Balázs Hidvéghi, a Hungarian MEP from the Magyar ruling party Fidesz, to explain the purpose of this legislative initiative.
Congressman, what does this law provide for?
This is a package of regulations for the protection of children. It is up to parents to decide how to educate their children about sexuality in line with their own beliefs. And it is up to the state to ensure that this educational priority of parents is respected.
Does this bill ban sex education in schools?
The law does not prohibit sex education, but rather ensures that it is done by qualified and licensed professionals and in an age-appropriate manner. We don’t want any radical lobby meddling in schools and lecturing our children about sex change and hormone treatments. It also regulates how certain content depicting sexuality may be directed at minors. It is important to ensure that the mental, physical and moral development of children is not hindered.
But does it discriminate against homosexual persons in any way?
The law does not apply to adults, their sexual orientation and practices. It does not affect the self-expression of individuals in any way.
How then do you explain the criticism that has come from abroad?
This law has been tendentiously and maliciously interpreted, and hysteria has been created based on false and politically distorted statements. This is not the first time this has happened when it comes to Hungarian laws. Christian-conservative governments are very often attacked for their actions in line with traditional values, but which in no way contradict European laws. We are faced with partisan attacks that are not based on facts. This is a law that reflects the provisions of our Constitution, and is based on the legitimate purpose of protecting our children.
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When it comes to the European Championships, I am convinced that sports should not be mixed with politics. Sports is a global thing, and political views can be very different all over the world. It’s not okay to oust some people from the sports world because they have a different opinion.
The European Commission has sent a letter to the Hungarian Government declaring that this law violates the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. What do you think?
It’s absurd. This law protects the right of parents to educate their children in accordance with their religious, philosophical and pedagogical beliefs. This right is specifically enshrined in Article 14 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.
We are talking about violations of the rule of law. Do you fear sanctions from the EU?
There is always talk of violations of the rule of law if a country has a Christian democratic government that is not afraid to defend its values. This is exactly what I referred to earlier: these debates are based on partisan statements and misinterpretations, and not on well-founded legal concerns. The notion of the rule of law is used for political purposes by the left. It has become their main political tool to go after those with differing opinions. Viktor Orbán’s government has been elected by the Hungarian people three times since 2010 with an overwhelming majority. The time has come to accept and respect this reality. Such political attacks on democratically elected governments do not serve European unity.
Have you received solidarity from foreign governments or political parties?
Hungary has historically had good relations with Poland. This link has been strengthened by the fact that we are in the same situation: we are subjected to similar attacks because we defend traditional values. There are other countries, such as Slovenia, which are also on our side, for similar reasons. Of course, there are also gestures of support from other countries and parties. However, the sad reality is that many Western European politicians are now afraid to express their opinions openly and gestures of solidarity often come only during discussions in corridors. Getting back to the actual issue, I have just one piece of advice for everyone: take some time and read the text of the law.