When it comes to protecting our children, there’s no question: We have zero tolerance for paedophiles, and we also insist that educating children about sexual orientation must be protected as the sole right of parents.
Hungary has garnered much recognition for its pro-family policies. Aside from these policies and tangible financial support offered to families, which have resulted in a growing number of marriages and births, we have also adopted a number of provisions in the interest of protecting children.
But the recognition has not always been positive. And this time, they’re ringing the alarm bells across Europe.
“The liberal steamrollers are once again at work against Hungary,” Prime Minister Orban wrote in his latest Samizdat, misrepresenting the spirit and letter of this law, which is in fact about protecting children. They insist, he added, on a “hegemony of opinion instead of a pluralism of ideas.”
As ever, it’s important to look at the facts.
Every child has the right to the protection and care necessary for his or her proper physical, mental and moral development – this is set out in Hungary’s Fundamental Law. The ninth amendment to the Hungarian constitution, adopted last December, ensures a child’s right to be identified according to his or her biological gender at birth and an upbringing based on Hungary’s constitutional identity and Christian culture.
Acting in this spirit, the Hungarian National Assembly passed on Tuesday a new law that further strengthens the protection of children. As we expected, the law instantly came under heavy fire from the liberal thought police.
Yes, the law does prohibit homosexuality and gender reassignment to be displayed or promoted to minors, but we have a very good reason for that. We think this is necessary to protect children in their sexual development. We also believe that certain content should only be introduced at a suitable age in the interest of children’s healthy psychological and mental development.
It does not matter how hard liberal mouthpieces, like the executive director of ILGA-Europe, try to make the public believe that by protecting our children, Hungary is, in fact, violating European laws; because, as Prime Minister Viktor Orbán writes in his latest Samizdat on the topic, “the new Hungarian law does not conflict with any lofty ideals or European laws”.
“The new Hungarian law does not conflict with any lofty ideals or European laws. The new Hungarian law simply states clearly that only parents can decide on the sexual education of their children. Education in schools must not be in conflict with the will of parents; it must at most be supplementary, its form and content must be clearly defined and it must be subject to parental consent,” the PM wrote.
At the same time, however, and this is something our critics won’t tell you, thanks to the new law, the Hungarian penal code will become stricter in the case of sexual offenders, with penalties increasing and no statute of limitation for the most serious crimes. Moreover, a register of paedophile offenders will be created to help prevent them from working in jobs where they would meet children.
Another fact that our critics will try to conceal is that the bill actually serves to amend an earlier law (Act XLVIII of 2008 on the Basic Requirements of and Certain Restrictions on Commercial Advertising Activities), which already prohibited the display to minors of advertising that depicts sexuality for its own sake or popularizes deviation from gender identity assigned at birth, gender alteration or homosexuality. So, there’s really nothing new: We are simply increasing the protection of a vulnerable group.
What’s more, the new law does not apply to the lives and sexual practices of adults over 18. In Hungary, no one has a say in how adults live their lives, and it must stay that way. However, as Prime Minister Orbán observed, “the debate on the future of Europe – that is, our children – has just begun,” and Hungary stands ready to protect its stance.
Zoltán Kovács is Hungary’s Secretary of State for International Communication and Relations.