France and Germany have joined more than a dozen other EU countries in backing legal action brought by the European Commission against Hungary at the European Court of Justice over a 2021 law discriminating against LGBTQI+ minorities.
“Germany has joined the ECJ proceedings of [the European Commission] against anti-queer laws in #Hungary,” the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a tweet on Saturday. The move demonstrates that “we stand by the side of the #LGBTQI community. The common values of the EU are the DNA of our free & open society. Diversity is our strength,” the ministry said.
Besides France and Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the European Parliament have also applied to join the proceedings.
“France and Germany join the Commission, together with about 15 other states and the Parliament, to counter the Hungarian ‘anti-propaganda’ #LGBT law before the EU Court of Justice!” tweeted French liberal MEP Pierre Karleskind from French President Emmanuel Macron’s ruling party Renaissance. “A real front for human rights is being established in Europe!”
The Hungarian law seeks to ban content that “promotes or portrays” what it refers to as “divergence from self-identity corresponding to sex at birth, sex change or homosexuality” to minors. The Commission referred Hungary to the ECJ last July for breach of EU internal market rules on the free provision of cross-border audiovisual services and content, as well as the fundamental rights of individuals and EU values.
The deadline for joining legal proceedings was April 6.
Germany’s last-minute application shows the divergence of views in the ruling coalition in Berlin. Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock — a Green politician who has been championing a progressive and value-driven foreign policy — pushed for Germany to join the lawsuit, eventually winning over skepticism from other parts of the government, notably from Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Asked why Germany waited until the eleventh hour, the German Foreign Ministry failed to reply by the time of publication.
The government in Budapest pledged to “not back down on our Child Protection Act.”
“Many Member State governments have given in to gender propaganda from Brussels and overseas,” government spokesperson Zoltan Kovacs said in a tweet on Saturday. “We will submit new measures to parliament in the autumn, making Hungary the country with the strictest child-protection legislation in Europe. Our children’s safety is our top priority.”
This story has been updated.