Words: Jamie Tabberer; pictures: Hungarian leader Viktor Orbán and EU boss Ursula von der Leyen (wiki)
Hungarian leader Viktor Orbán has called European Union action against his country's new anti-LGBTQ law "legalised hooliganism."
The prime minister's conservative Fidesz party introduced the controversial legislation, which bans positive representation of LGBTQ life to under-18s, last month.
After several EU figures and heads of member states spoke out against the law, it was confirmed last week that the union was 'launching infringement procedures' against the country.
Speaking on state radio last Friday (16 July), Orbán branded the EU's approach "legalised hooliganism", declaring: "The European Commission’s stance is shameful."
He added he would not let LGBTQ activists "march up and down" in schools promoting so-called "sexual propaganda."
In response to the new legislation - which is an amendment to existing law on pedophilia - European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement: “Europe will never allow parts of our society to be stigmatised: be it because of whom they love, because of their age, their ethnicity, their political opinions, or their religious beliefs.”
A European Commission rep added: "Equality and the respect for dignity and human rights are core values of the EU, enshrined in Article 2 of the Treaty of the European Union. The Commission will use all the instruments at its disposal to defend these values.
"The Commission is launching infringement procedures against Hungary and Poland related to the equality and the protection of fundamental rights.
"On Hungary, the cases include the recently adopted law, which in particular prohibits or limits access to content that promotes or portrays the so-called "divergence from self-identity corresponding to sex at birth, sex change or homosexuality" for individuals under 18; and a disclaimer imposed on a children's book with LGBTIQ content.
"In relation to Poland, the Commission considers that Polish authorities failed to fully and appropriately respond to its inquiry regarding the nature and impact of the so-called ‘LGBT-ideology free zones' resolutions adopted by several Polish regions and municipalities.
"The two Member States now have two months to respond to the arguments put forward by the Commission. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to send them a reasoned opinion and in a further step refer them to the Court of Justice of the European Union."
The Attitude Body Issue is out now.