Brussels [Belgium], June 24 (ANI): The European Union (EU) on Wednesday reacted sharply to a new law in Hungary, which critics say targets gays, lesbians and transgender people. The European bloc has threatened to sue Budapest over violations of fundamental human rights if it does not back down immediately.
The law, which is reportedly intended to combat child sex abuse, prohibits sharing content deemed to be promoting homosexuality or sex reassignment with minors, reported Washington Post.
Critics say the measure conflates pedophilia and LGBTQ issues and would be used as a legal tool to hound Hungary's LGBTQ community. They also say it is intended to rally conservative support around Prime Minister Viktor Orban after a shaky coronavirus pandemic response and ahead of elections next year.
The warning from European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was a measure of the degree to which many senior European leaders expressed concern over the new law, which was approved last week by Hungary's parliament.
"The Hungarian bill is a shame... I strongly believe in a European Union where you are free to love who you want, and I believe in a European Union that embraces diversity," von der Leyen told reporters on Wednesday.
"So I will use all the powers of the commission to ensure that the rights of all EU citizens are guaranteed, whoever you are and wherever you live," he added.
According to Washington Post, ministers from the 27 EU countries who met earlier this week in Luxembourg devoted much of their meeting to the Hungarian law. One minister said he was "appalled," according to one senior diplomat familiar with the talks.
"This is so much against the grain of everything the EU stands for," the diplomat added.
"I think this law is wrong and also not compatible with my ideas," Chancellor Angela Merkel told the German parliament on Wednesday.
A statement condemning the law was gathering support on Wednesday, with 17 of the 27 EU governments signing it, including Eastern European countries that have often stayed on the sideline on culture-war issues.
However, the Hungarian representative at the meeting, Justice Minister Judit Varga, was defiant.
"It is not a European value to carry out sexual propaganda on our children," she tweeted during the meeting. "Our value is to respect the freedom of opinion of families and to guarantee the undisturbed upbringing of our children free of any sexual lobby interference." (ANI)