Hungarian Official Says 'Pedophiles' Can't Hide as Country Passes Law Banning LGBT Content for Minors

Fidesz State Secretary Csaba Domotor said "pedophiles won't be able to hide any more" after Hungary passed a law Tuesday banning LGBT content for children. The law will bolster the "protection of children" with added services like a convicted pedophile registry, the official said.

"The criminal code will be even more strict. Punishments will be more severe. No one can get away with atrocities with light punishments and parole," he said.

Fidesz, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's conservative ruling party, proposed the law that forbids any children's content depicting homosexuality and sex reassignment. Despite Domotor's claims the legislation will curtail pedophilia, human rights organizations have criticized it as anti-LGBT.

Hungary's National Assembly voted 157-1 to approve the bill with a Fidesz majority in parliament and support from the right-wing Jobbik party. The one opposer was an independent lawmaker, the Associated Press reported.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

Hungarian Protest
Participants gather near the parliament building in Budapest on Monday during a demonstration against the Hungarian government's draft bill seeking to ban the "promotion" of homosexuality and sex changes, which will be discussed by Hungarian MPs tomorrow. The Hungarian ruling party of right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban on June 10, introduced legislative amendments seeking to ban the "promotion" of homosexuality and sex changes. Gergely Besenyei/AFP via Getty Images

All other opposition parties boycotted the voting session in protest. Human rights groups had denounced the measure strongly, saying it was wrong to conflate LGBT people with pedophilia. They argued the law could be used to stigmatize and harass residents because of their sexual orientations and gender identities.

"On this shameful day, the opposition's place is not in the parliament but on the streets," Budapest Mayor Karacsony wrote on Facebook.

Orban's government in the past has depicted migrants as a grave threat to Hungary and the nation's Christian identity, a theme the prime minister has successfully used to win past elections. With the next elections scheduled for 2022, and fewer migrants entering Europe, the ruling party has increasingly depicted the LGBT rights movement as a threat, in an attempt to shore up its conservative base.

Yet more than a dozen local organizations, including Amnesty International Hungary and LGBT rights organizations, argued in a statement after the vote that the legislation is not in line with Hungarian society, which is largely accepting of LGBT people.

"[It] also clearly infringes the right to freedom of expression, human dignity and equal treatment," the statement said.

Lawmaker Gergely Arato, of the Democratic Coalition parliamentary grouping, said the changes violate the standards of parliamentary democracy, rule of law and human rights.

The legislation, presented last week by Fidesz, was on its face primarily aimed at fighting pedophilia. It included amendments that ban the representation of any sexual orientation besides heterosexual as well as sex reassignment information in school sex education programs, or in films and advertisements aimed at anyone under 18.

Thousands of LGBT activists and others held a protest in Budapest on Monday in an unsuccessful effort to stop the legislation from passing.

Dunja Mijatovic, the commissioner for human rights at the Council of Europe, the continent's leading human rights body, also had asked Hungarian lawmakers to reject the legislation, saying it reinforced prejudice against LGBT people.

The Fidesz party also successfully championed a law last year making it impossible for transgender people to legally change the gender markers on their identity documents. Human rights officials say that puts them at risk of humiliation when they need to present identity documents.

"Today's decision in #Hungary's parliament represents another severe state discrimination against #LGBTIQ people," Deputy Foreign Minister Michael Roth of Germany tweeted Tuesday after the new legislation passed. "This law goes against everything we regard as our common European values. Full solidarity and support for LGBTIQ people in Hungary."

Hungary LGBT Pride
People march with a rainbow flag from the parliament building in Budapest downtown during the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Pride Parade in the Hungarian capital on July 6, 2019. Attila Kisbenedek/AFP via Getty Images