Thousands join Budapest Pride to protest anti-LGBTQ+ policies

June 23, 2024 12:24 pm

[Source: Reuters]

Carrying rainbow flags and dancing through the streets, thousands of Hungarians celebrated the annual Budapest Pride parade on Saturday and vowed to keep protesting over the government’s anti-LGBTQ+ policies.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban, in power since 2010, promotes a Christian-conservative agenda and in 2021 banned the “promotion of homosexuality” among under-18s despite strong criticism from rights groups and the European Union.

Gay marriage is not recognised in Hungary and only heterosexual couples can legally adopt children. Orban’s government has redefined marriage as the union between one man and one woman in the constitution, and limited gay adoption.

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His government has said the 2021 law is meant to protect children and does not target the LGBTQ+ community, but it has caused anxiety among gay, bisexual and transgender Hungarians.

Last year, some booksellers were fined for selling books depicting homosexuality, which were not wrapped in plastic as required by the legislation.

And in November, a museum director was sacked after the institution allowed under-18s to visit a World Press Photo exhibition featuring LGBTQ+ content.

Ahead of Saturday’s march, the embassies of the United States, Germany and 33 other countries urged Hungary to protect LGBTQ+ rights and scrap laws that discriminate against members of the community.

U.S. Ambassador David Pressman was one of several diplomats to join the Pride event.