Brussels — The European Commission expressed concern Wednesday over Hungary's new law banning the "promotion" of homosexuality to minors, which has already been condemned by Washington and rights groups.
"Very concerned about the new law in Hungary. We are assessing if it breaches relevant EU legislation," EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen tweeted.
"I believe in a Europe which embraces diversity, not one which hides it from our children. No one should be discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation," she wrote.
The law, passed on Tuesday, is the latest in a series of measures right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban's government says are aimed at protecting children.
But critics say the changes — which effectively ban teaching about LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex) groups — would discriminate and restrict freedom of expression.
The law is similar to one adopted by Russia's government in 2013 banning "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" to minors. The Russian law was wielded in 2019 by investigators who opened a sexual assault investigation over a YouTube video that simply showed a gay man answering questions from curious children about his life and homosexuality. Both the man and the producers of the video went into hiding when the investigation was announced.
Brussels is under pressure to condemn Hungary's latest move, which the U.S. State Department said "raises concerns" and includes restrictions that "have no place in democratic society."
European Commission officials said they would "look into it in more detail."
"We are not going to be shy, we are going to express our views or opinions," European Commission spokeswoman Dana Spinant said.
"But we need to base those on a thorough reflection on what is actually in that law, and what the problems with that law would be. What we do will depend on what we find out," Spinant said, pointing to the "important and legal and political steps" the EU has taken to build a strategy to protect LGBTQI rights.
"We will need to see under what aspects and on what points the legislation complies or fails to comply with EU legislation or with our principles."
In recent years, Orban, who has ruled Hungary since 2010, has enacted a socially conservative policy agenda, shaping the EU member into what he calls a bastion against liberal ideologies.
Last December, parliament adopted a package of measures enshrining what the government sees as the traditional family, effectively banning adoption by same-sex couples.
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