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Hungary’s LGBT community faces ‘concentrated attacks’, warns rights group

Budapest, Hungary – A local rights organizations has warned that the situation of Hungary’s gay and LGBT community is quickly deteriorating as it faces increasing pressure from the conservative government, Reuters reported.

A hostile rhetoric fueling anti-LGBT sentiment

The Hatter organization said Hungary’s LGBT community is feeling increasingly threatened by the government’s and government-led attacks and the hostile rhetoric used by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, members of his ruling Fidesz party and pro-government media outlets.

“By the end of 2019, our worst fears had become reality when Hungarian state actors led by the governing parties started increasingly concentrated attacks against the LGBTQI community”, the group said.

“We fear that this… might become the modus operandi of the government. Ultimately, this will shift Hungarian public opinion that has otherwise shown signs of growing support for LGBTQI causes in recent years”.

Warning of the frequent lack of police vigilance and willingness to properly investigate anti-LGBT or homophobic attacks, the organization added that these concentrated attacks against the country’s gay community might undermine public support for them and undo the progress achieved since the fall of communism for LGBT rights. Although same-sex marriage isn’t authorized in Hungary, civil partnerships have been open for gay couples since 2009.

LGBT rights deteriorate across Central Europe

According to the 2019 Rainbow Index, an annual ranking evaluating the legal and social situation of LGBT communities across Europe, Hungary ranks 19th, with a score much lower than countries in Western Europe but n°1 among Central European countries.

Shortly after coming to power ten years ago, Viktor Orban, whose defense of the traditional family model has become a cornerstone of his rhetoric and policy, pushed through several amendments to Hungary’s fundamental law and added the definition of marriage as the union between a man and a woman in the country’s Constitution.

Last year, the speaker of Parliament and member of the ruling Fidesz László Kövér sparked outrage among civil rights groups when he claimed that “there is no difference morally in the behaviour of a pedophile and homosexuals who want to adopt. In both cases, the child is an object, an item of luxury, the tool used for self-realization and fulfillment”. Orban’s chief of staff backed his comments at the time.

LGBT activists and rights organizations fear that Hungary might follow the same path as the Polish government, who last year launched an aggressive campaign against the LGBT community and used the topic as a rallying cry to bolster its conservative voter base.

Main photo credit: Northfoto

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