The European Union (E.U.) is suing member state Hungary due to its “Don’t Say Gay” law.
“The European Commission today decided to refer Hungary to the Court of Justice of the E.U. over a Hungarian law which discriminates against people on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity,” said the E.U.’s executive in a statement.
Hungary’s law bans LGBTQ content in the media and restricts how sexual orientation and gender identity get discussed in schools.
“There are contents which children under a certain age can misunderstand and which may have a detrimental effect on their development at the given age, or which children simply cannot process, and which could therefore confuse their developing moral values or their image of themselves or the world,” a spokesperson for the Hungarian government said in 2021 when the law passed.
The law came after Coca-Cola ran ads in the country showing same-sex couples, a campaign that drew calls for a boycott of Coke products.
LGBTQ advocates said that the law is “a blanket approval to treat LGBT people with discrimination, with hatred” and that it could be used to ban rainbow flags from appearing on television.
“The idea that being gay poses a risk in itself to people under 18 is such a horrible vicious concept … It will have tragic effects on the mental wellbeing of young LGBT people,” said András Léderer at the Hungarian Helsinki Committee Europe last year.
The law is similar to Florida’s Don’t Say Gay law in that it too was passed with the stated goal of preventing child molestation, showing that its supporters believe that pedophilia and homosexuality are linked. The Hungarian Don’t Say Gay law was passed as part of a larger “anti-pedophilia” law; defenders of Florida’s law like Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) press secretary Christina Pushaw defended it by saying that opponents of the bill are “groomers,” or people who prepare children to be molested.
While Hungary’s law goes further by restricting LGBTQ content in the media, DeSantis and Florida Republicans followed up the Don’t Say Gay law by taking away a self-governance deal from Disney World because of Disney’s opposition to the Don’t Say Gay law, with many conservatives citing Disney’s support for LGBTQ content as a reason to punish the company.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that the Hungarian law was a “disgrace.”
The E.U. is also suing Hungary for its refusal to renew the license of a radio station critical of the government called Klubradio.
“We address attacks to independent media via all the tools that we have,” European Commissioner for Values and Transparency Vera Jourova told Reuters.
The E.U. is also suing Hungary for discriminatory fuel pricing. The country is subsidizing fuel for vehicles with Hungarian license plates but not for those with foreign license plates. The European Commission argues that the subsidies violate common market rules.