The referendum is seen as a response by Hungary’s hard-line nationalist government to this criticism. The vote will be held on April 3, the same day as the country’s general parliamentary election.
Hungary’s right-wing populist Prime Minister Viktor Orban has argued that the law is not about violating LGBTQ rights, but about preserving parents’ rights to choose how to educate their children.
Orban has outlined a five-question referendum vote that will ask the public if they support the “promotion” of content related to sexual orientation to children and is urging the public to vote “no.”
When launching the legal action against Hungary in July, the European Commission said that Budapest had “failed to explain why the exposure of children to LGBTIQ content as such would be detrimental to their well-being or not in line with the best interests of the child.”
In July, when Orban first proposed that a referendum on the law be held, he referred to a 2016 vote in which Hungary rejected the EU’s refugee resettlement plan but failed to reach a voter turnout threshold — making the referendum not legally binding.
“Then, a referendum and the common will of the people stopped Brussels,” he said. “We have already succeeded once and together we will succeed again.”