Last year, the Hungarian government passed a law that is detrimental to the LGBTQIA+ community. The law defines marriage as a union that can only take place between a man and a woman. The law also states that a family can only consist of a married man and woman with one or more children. As a result, same-sex couples are not allowed to adopt any children. Hungary is part of the European Union, so this new law has a certain shock factor. The anti-gay nature of the policy becomes clearer when earlier this month a law was passed forbidding ‘promoting’ homosexuality and changing sex. This comes at a time when the world celebrates June as pride month. How are people, countries and organizations reacting to this and why is this so important to talk about?
History of Equality for the LGBTQIA+ Community
While homosexuality is still a taboo in many cultures, gay rights have increased over time. Homosexuality has been punishable in Europe since the 13th century, sometimes even with the death penalty. The emancipation began around the 19th century, and it benefited from the new scientific insights and as a result, homosexuality was no longer seen as a religious sin but as a mental illness. Homosexuality was even recognized as a mental disorder by the World Health Organization (WHO) and internationally listed as a disease. It has been only 30 years since this was removed in May 1990. The equal rights movement began in the sixties, and the Netherlands was the first country in 2001 to legalize gay marriage. This allowed the LGBTQIA+ community to prosper and grow
Divide in Europe
The anti-gay movement in East Europe is getting more followers and support.
While gay rights are recognised in some countries, the situation is still far away from being equal. 69 countries have laws criminalizing homosexuality, and so far only 28 countries in the world recognize same-sex marriages and 34 other countries provide partnership recognition for same-sex couples. Therefore, the law that has been passed in Hungary is a major setback. The Hungarian government explains that the law is passed to tackle paedophilia and that members of the LGBTQIA+ community are responsible for most offences against children. This is an insult because the statement has no scientific or statistical support. This new law shows that the anti-gay movement in East Europe is getting more followers and support bringing to light the divide between Western and Eastern Europe
The new law created a lot of uproar in the European Union. The indignant responses mostly come from Western and Northern Europe in particular. The Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte called this unacceptable and said that Hungary should leave the European Union. Other foreign ministers have spoken out against this during a meeting with their counterparts. While Hungary is facing criticism for this change in law, it is getting support from other east European countries like Poland.
The Effect on UEFA
Being politically correct or staying neutral is not acceptable when we’re talking about human rights.
The UEFA Euro championships are currently taking place, which means that there are many protests against Hungary and their anti-gay policy. During the match between Germany and Hungary, several stadiums lit up in rainbow colors to show their support for the LGBTQIA+ community. A lot of supporters are also bringing pride flags and shirts to the games to extend their support. Georginio Wijnaldum, captain of the Dutch national team also tried to set an example and will be wearing a bracelet that says: ‘one love’. The football community showing their support is heartwarming, but UEFA has different opinions on the matter. They didn’t allow rainbow flags in the match between the Czech Republic, and other actions will also not be approved.
The problem is that UEFA wants to stay neutral in such situations and this is problematic. UEFA must allow people to take a stand in this matter because being neutral or silent means that they agree with the oppressor. Being politically correct or neutral is not acceptable when we’re talking about human rights.
Cover: Teddy Osterblom
Edited By: Sajal Bhateja