President of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen attacks Hungary's new law against the 'promotion of homosexuality'
WHEN It was revealed last week that Hungary’s parliament had passed legislation that bans the dissemination of content in schools deemed to promote homosexuality and gender change, a plan was unveiled to to bathe Munich’s stadium in rainbow colours for tonight’s match between Germany and Hungary.
The lighting plan was suggested after outrage was expressed over the new law by numerous media commentators, football personalities and politicians, including Von der Leyen, above, who said the Hungarian bill:
Clearly discriminates against people on the basis of their sexual orientation. And it goes against all the values, the fundamental values of the European Union.
The plan was scrapped after the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) refused to allow the lighting, saying it must remain a “politically and religiously neutral organisation”, a move that sparked a backlash.
In response, clubs in Berlin, Frankfurt, Cologne, Wolfsburg and Augsburg said they would illuminate their stadiums anyway during tonight’s match.
Budapest meanwhile hit back, praising UEFA for taking a stance against “provocation.” Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto claimed UEFA’s decision was correct.
The leadership of UEFA made the right decision by not assisting in a political provocation against Hungary.
But German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas criticised the move, tweeting:
It’s true, the football pitch is not about politics. It’s about people, about fairness, about tolerance. That’s why @UEFA is sending the wrong signal.
And Munich mayor Dieter Reiter said:
I find it shameful that UEFA forbids us to send a sign for cosmopolitanism, tolerance, respect and solidarity with the people of the LGBT community.
Germany’s head coach Joachim Loew said he “would have been happy” if the stadium was lit in rainbow colours.
Markus Ulrich, a spokesman for Germany’s Lesbian and Gay Association (LSVD), added that UEFA:
Had not recognised the signs of the times — and it is clear to see which side it is taking with its decision.
Hardline nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban, above, described by Donald Trump as a champion of Christian values who is “highly respected all over Europe”, has grown increasingly radical on social policy, railing against LGBT people and immigrants in his self-styled illiberal regime, which has deeply divided Hungarians.
His Fidesz party, which promotes a Christian-conservative agenda, tacked the proposal banning school talks on LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) issues to a separate, widely backed bill that strictly penalises paedophilia, making it much harder for opponents to vote against it.
The move, which critics say wrongly conflates paedophilia with LGBT issues, triggered a mass rally outside parliament on Monday, while several rights groups have called on Fidesz to withdraw the bill.
The US Embassy in Budapest said said in a statement on its website that it was “deeply concerned” by anti-LGBTQI+ aspects of the legislation.
The United States stands for the idea that governments should promote freedom of expression and protect human rights, including the rights of members of the LGBTQI+ community,
Critics have drawn a parallel between the new legislation and Russia’s 2013 law that bans disseminating “propaganda on non-traditional sexual relations” among young Russians.
Poland’s conservative ruling party Law and Justice (PiS), Fidesz’s main ally in the European Union, has taken a similarly critical stance on LGBT issues. Budapest and Warsaw are at odds with the European Union over some of their conservative reforms.
The European Parliament’s rapporteur on the situation in Hungary, Greens lawmaker Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield, slammed the new law
Using child protection as an excuse to target LGBTIQ people is damaging to all children in Hungary.
Orban has won three successive election landslides since 2010, but opposition parties have now combined forces for the first time and caught up with Fidesz in opinion polls.
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