'Friends' and 'Modern Family' Could Be Banned in Hungary For Promoting Homosexuality

Classic American sitcoms Friends and Modern Family could be banned in Hungary after the parliament passed a law banning the "promotion" of homosexuality to minors.

The legislation, which was submitted by Hungary's ruling nationalist party Fidesz, will see a stop on any content which was deemed to promote gay rights or gender reassignment to anyone under the age of 18.

Broadcaster RTL Klub said the law would mean that TV shows and films that mention or feature gay couples could only be shown at night with a minimum viewing age of 18 years old.

Friends famously sees Ross (David Schwimmer) and his first wife Carol (Jane Sibbett) get a divorce after it is revealed that she's having an affair with Susan (Jessica Hecht), who she later goes on to marry.

Meanwhile, Modern Family features gay couple Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Cameron (Eric Stonestreet) as part of its core storyline.

Films such as Harry Potter, Bridget Jones's Diary and Billy Elliot could also be at risk with the legislation.

A statement from RTL Klub reads: "Based on the draft, only late night, over 18-years-old could be presented to creations like Billy Elliot, Philadelphia, Bridget Jones's Diary, or even some parts of Harry Potter film adaptations, and series like the block list Modern Family, Friends, or several episodes of Neighbors."

The channel hit out at the "worrying" law, adding that it "seriously violates freedom of speech and the prohibition of the European Union Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms."

It went on to add that the law would not only cause significant economic damage to the media market but would also exclude sexual minorities from mass media, making it harder to combat negative stereotypes.

It is understood that the move would also include any educational material, books, advertisements and films.

The proposed ban comes as part of a government bill that punishes pedophilia, according to Reuters.

Fidesz State Secretary Csaba Domotor said the law would reduce pedophilia, adding that offenders "won't be able to hide anymore."

The news has been met with backlash from a series of pro-LGBT rights groups.

The Háttér Society, which is one of the oldest LGBTQI NGOs in Hungary said the move "would seriously curb freedom of speech and children's rights".

Luca Dudits, who is a board member at the organization, said the move was unsurprising.

"Fidesz has been using the LGBTQ community as a scapegoat for many, many years," Dudits said. "And unfortunately, they are using this kind of hate and painting us as an enemy to win votes."

Amnesty International Hungary and other local organizations said the bill "clearly infringes the right to freedom of expression, human dignity and equal treatment," in a statement.

The commissioner for human rights at the Council of Europe, Dunja Mijatovic, said it reinforced prejudice against the LGBT community and urged lawmakers to reject the legislation.

"Friends" and "Modern Family" could be banned
"Friends" and "Modern Family" could be banned in Hungary for under 18s. David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images/Tim Rue/Corbis via Getty Images)