BUDAPEST, March 9 (Reuters) – Hungary’s Justice Minister said late on Wednesday that Budapest would fight in the Court of Justice of the EU to defend an education law that Brussels says discriminates against people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Justice Minister Judit Varga said in a Facebook post she had submitted a counter claim to the court because the government would stick to its stance that education was a matter for national governments to decide.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s anti-LGBT campaign escalated in June 2021 when the parliament, dominated by his Fidesz party, passed a law banning the use of materials seen as promoting homosexuality and gender change at schools.
The government has said the law aimed to protect children, not target the LGBT community.
“Just as we have done so far, we will go to the wall if it’s about protecting our children,” Varga said, adding that uphold the legislation was necessary and further measures would be taken. She did not specify what they would be.
The standoff comes at a time when Brussels has suspended the disbursement of billions of euros of much-needed EU funds to Hungary until Budapest implements reforms to improve judicial independence and tackle corruption.
The European Commission referred Hungary to the Court of Justice of the EU over the anti-LGBT law in mid-2022.
The commission has said it considers that the law violates the EU’s internal market rules, the fundamental rights of individuals and EU values.
Orban said in a speech last month, defending the legislation: “Gender propaganda is not just … rainbow chatter, but the greatest threat stalking our children. We want our children to be left alone …. This kind of thing has no place in Hungary, and especially not in our schools.”