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East-West divide worsens in EU; Hungary passes controversial LGBT law

DUBLIN: Hungary passed a controversial LGBT law that runs counter to the European Union policy. Hungary is adamant that it will go ahead with its new law banning LGBT content in schools, despite opposition from the majority of EU member states. This has caused dissatisfaction among member states.

Following the passage of a controversial law in Hungary, leaders of 17 EU member states, including Ireland, France, Germany, and Italy, declared their support for defending the rights of LGBTQ people. The new law was criticised in a letter to the EU without directly mentioning Hungary.

The letter states that Pride Day is celebrated on June 28 to remind us that we live in diverse and tolerant societies committed to the development of individuals, including their sexual orientation and gender identity.

“It will also be a moment to celebrate that, over the last few years, we have walked a long way in favour of these principles, which we believe to be the bedrock of the European Union. We must continue fighting against discrimination towards the LGBTI community, reaffirming our defence of their fundamental rights,” the letter said.

The letter was signed by Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Finland and Sweden. Luxembourg’s Prime Minister said that Austria had also signed the letter.

Irish Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Micheál Martin tweeted saying, “Hate, intolerance and discrimination have no place in our Union. That’s why, today and every day, we stand for diversity and LGBTI equality so that our future generations can grow up in a Europe of equality and respect.”

East-West divide in EU

Hungary’s controversial law is seen as exacerbating east-west divide in EU countries. It is also noted that countries in Eastern Europe have taken a more socially conservative approach.

The issue was worsened when UEFA, Europe’s football governing body, rejected Munich’s proposal to light up its stadium in LGBTQ rainbow colours for a Germany-Hungary Euro Cup match. Instead, the city reacted by decorating many of its monuments, including those near the stadium, in rainbow tints.

Hungary is out of EU: Dutch PM

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has slammed Hungary for passing anti-LGBT legislation. He said the new law was against EU policy. Mr. Rutte, who arrived in Brussels for the EU summit, responded, “For me, Hungary has no place in the EU anymore. But I’m not the only one to decide this: there are 26 other (EU countries). This has to be done step by step,” he said.

Hungary says it will not withdraw the law

Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán, dismissed the growing controversy over the new law. “This is not against homosexuality, any sexual interference. It’s not about homosexuals.

 It’s about the right of the kids and the parents,” he said. Mr. Orban made it clear that he will not consider opposition from EU members and will not withdraw the legislation.

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