France concerned by Hungary LGBTQ law referendum

France’s Europe Minister Clement Beaune on Friday criticised a planned referendum by Hungary over a controversial law slammed as an attack on LGBTQ rights by Brussels. 

“I am concerned about the Hungarian law which was adopted in mid-June and which is the subject of a referendum which does not relate exactly to this law,” Beaune said as he arrived for a meeting of the bloc’s Europe ministers in Slovenia. 

Hungary’s right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Wednesday that a national vote would be held to gauge domestic support for the controversial LGBTQ law, after the European Commission launched legal action against Budapest over the measure.

The legislation, which includes a ban on the “depiction or promotion” of homosexuality and gender reassignment to under-18s, has drawn scorn across Europe. 

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It has been billed by Budapest as a way to protect children, but opponents argue that it conflates paedophilia with homosexuality and stigmatises the LGBTQ community.

Orban said the referendum would comprise five questions, including asking citizens if they agree that schools should be permitted to “talk about sexuality to their children without their consent”. 

It will also ask participants if they support “the promotion of sex reassignment treatment for minors” or the “unrestricted exposure of children to harmful sexual content”.

Beaune complained that issues were being falsely linked and “instrumentalised” to ensure that Orban gets a “No” from those voting in the ballot. 

“We must not give in on these points,” Beaune said.

No date has been set for the referendum.