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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 11, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 11
Hungary vetoes European agreement on LGBT rights

Also blocks deal on immigrants
Section One
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Hungary vetoes European agreement on LGBT rights

Also blocks deal on immigrants

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Hungary has blocked a European Union (EU) agreement on LGBT rights.

The draft measure would have empowered the European Commission to ban discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, promote LGBT equality, and collect data on EU countries' treatment of LGBT residents.

The measure was submitted by the Dutch government, which currently holds the EU presidency.

Under EU rules, however, all member countries must agree to new rules. Even one objection is enough to block a proposal. Hungary vetoed both the LGBT rights measure and a proposed deal with Turkey on the refugee crisis.

'Hungary is not in the position to agree with the list of actions to advance LGBTI equality,' the Hungarian government said in a terse statement.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has been described as 'Europe's Donald Trump' for his right-wing nationalist political program, incorporating anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, and anti-LGBT sentiments.

In 2012, while other European countries were enacting new legal protections for their LGBT residents, Orbán's government passed a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

Since the parliamentary election of 2014, Orbán has also been making concessions to even-further-right elements. The neo-Fascist Jobbik Party - which in the past has attacked Budapest pride marches - is now the third largest in Hungary's parliament.

'The EU has played a vital role in advancing LGBTI rights across the continent in recent years, including by making it illegal to refuse someone a job on the grounds of sexual orientation,' said Catherine Bearder, a British member of the European Parliament, in a statement to PinkNews.

'But the reality is that in some European countries, LBGTI people still face daily persecution and discrimination.

'It is a disgrace that governments like Viktor Orbán's in Hungary are blocking progress in this area.

'The UK should use our influence in the EU to ensure that LGBT rights are respected across our neighborhood.'

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