Hungary’s top court gives green light to child protection law referendum

By John Cody
6 Min Read

Through the child protection act introduced by Viktor Orbán’s government, there are now tougher penalties for child-abuse and radical LGBTQ propaganda is banned from schools, kindergartens and television programs meant for kids. Since the law was introduced, it has been a subject to vicious attacks from Hungary’s left-wing opposition, from EU institutions and gender activist NGOs.

Despite the pushback from the left, Hungary’s government has deemed the legislation necessary, pointing to the radical gender activists who have begun targeting Hungary’s educational institutions with “sensitizing” programs without the consent of parents, which is the same agenda already seen in the Western European and U.S. school system As a result, the Hungarian government proposed a referendum regarding the legislation, where every citizen will have the chance to express their opinion, which could lead to either the withdrawal of the law in case of a negative outcome, or in the opposite case, its democratic legitimization.

Drag queen story hours have made their way into public libraries and schools all the way from Sweden to the United States, in which drag queens or trans individuals read children storybooks, sometimes on controversial subjects.

However, instead of welcoming the opportunity for the child protection act’s reversal via a referendum, the opponents of the law had attacked the decision at Hungary’s Constitutional Court. It is rather telling that the person or persons who have attacked the referendum wished to remain anonymous, which most probably means that the initiative can be traced back to Hungary’s left-wing opposition, rather than to radical NGOs which revel in publicity and controversy. The petitioner’s objection was that the questions put to voters during the proposed referendum have not been properly legally examined.

Viktor Orbán’s government knows the child protection legislation is popular with the general public, which may be why they are tying the success of a referendum on the issue to their reelection chances in April of this year. (John Thys, Pool Photo via AP)

The questions the government of Viktor Orbán had proposed for the referendum are as follows:

• Do you support the holding of sexual orientation lessons for minor children in public education without parental consent?

• Do you support the promotion of gender reassignment treatments for minors?

• Do you support the unrestricted introduction of sexual media content to minors that affects their development?

• Do you support the display of gender-sensitive media content to minors?

Despite efforts by clandestine groups to stop the referendum, the Hungarian Constitutional Court has given the go ahead, dismissing the objections brought against it. Many are questioning why there is such fierce opposition to the referendum, especially from those who routinely claim Hungary is no democracy, given that a referendum represents perhaps the purest form of democracy, and provides an opportunity for citizens to voice their opinions, especially regarding controversial issues.

A participant poses with a rainbow flag during a gay pride parade in Budapest, Hungary, Saturday, July 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Anna Szilagyi)

The problem for Hungary’s left-wing opposition is that in the present case, there is a tacit understanding that the government’s child-protection law has overwhelming public support. According to a recent opinion poll, 92 percent of Hungarians believe that pedophile crimes should get tougher sentences, and 60 percent believe that gender propaganda directed towards children should be restricted. Only 33 percent believe that previous legislation was sufficient in regulating LGBTQ education in schools.

Justice Minister Judit Varga has welcomed the court’s decision, saying “the Constitutional Court has decided: there is no obstacle to the child protection referendum! The Hungarian Constitutional Court found in its decision that the motions against the referendum are unfounded. Finally, the Hungarian people can directly express their opinion on child protection. Let’s protect families and parents’ rights!”

A Hungarian conservative think-tank, The Center for Fundamental Rights (Alapjogokért Központ), has also released a statement, writing,

“While the left, intoxicated by gender ideology, considers the referendum to be ‘stupidity,’ it has itself initiated referendums on two other issues… The Center has been raising awareness to the dangers of the insanity of questioning the difference between biological males and females for years, and of the rainbow propaganda that is increasingly targeting minors, trying to ‘sensitize’ them towards asexual fluidity and non-binary agendas in an open and coercive manner. In the West, political elites have virtually ‘formalized’ a mental illness called gender ideology without asking people.

“However, in the child protection referendum, as in the case of migration, Hungarian citizens will be able to decide for themselves on important issues affecting their daily lives and the future of their children, such as the sexual education of children, the promotion of gender reassignment or media content.”

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