The European Union (EU) Commission has given both Poland and Hungary a deadline of two months to change their nations’ individual anti-LGBTQ laws and policies. Discrimination against queer employees has been illegal in the EU since 2000 and only four of the 27 EU states do not recognize either same-sex marriage or same-sex civil union. The Commission has pointed out that Article 2 of the Treaty of the European Union would classify Poland and Hungary’s laws and positions as going against their citizens’ fundamental human rights.
Poland’s position against LGBTQ equality has come into question as a result of so-called “LGBT-Free Zones,” which multiple municipalities across the country have declared themselves in response to growing support for complete recognition of gay and lesbian equality. Although LGBTQ individuals are able to serve in the military, change their legal names and apply for the same co-habitation benefits as their heterosexual and cisgender counterparts, there are many things they cannot do. Same-sex couples may not adopt and may not marry. The EU complaint argues Polish law is LGBTQ discrimination because it makes them unwelcome in most, if not all spaces throughout the country.
The quality of life for the LGBTQ community in Hungary does not, according to the EU, live up to the necessary standards. Same-sex marriages and same-sex couples adopting children are both illegal in Hungary. This means that, even if a partner has a biological child, their same-sex partner may never have any guardianship over them. As of 2020, genders cannot be changed in Hungary, either.
Viktor Orbán, Prime Minister of Hungary, announced on July 21 that he has planned a referendum to defend the implementation of the Children Protection Act. This law was enacted in June of this year with the purpose of keeping any LGBTQ books, audio, visual or otherwise educational content from minors.
The EU maintains that, even if the issue was not with censoring access to LGBTQ entertainment, media or sex education, the issue would be with Hungary’s violation of the Treaty’s principles regarding freedom to provide principles and freedom of the movement of goods. Should any LGBTQ content be allowed to hit shelves in Hungary, such as “Meseorszag Mindenkie” (aka “A Fairy Tale for Everyone”), publishers must include the disclaimer that it contains “behavior deviating from traditional gender roles.”
Orbán is being opposed for the position of Prime Minister after an almost eleven-year reign. The upcoming Hungarian parliamentary elections will be held in 2022, when most Polish people hope to see several more liberal candidates in the running.
Orbán, who will likely grasp at any means possible to remain in office, maintains the EU’s legal action against Hungary “is a “shameful” move that amounts to “legalized hooliganism.”
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