Luxembourg PM Dismisses Hungary's LGBT Law, Says ABC's 'Modern Family' Didn't Make Him Gay

Xavier Bettel, Luxembourg's openly gay prime minister, dismissed Hungary's LGBT law prohibiting LGBT-related content from minors and said watching Modern Family did not make him gay.

The bill was signed into law Wednesday by Hungarian President János Áder and has drawn outrage from European Union (EU) leaders. It bans individuals under 18 from watching any content on LGBT issues, homosexuality and sex reassignment from sex education programs, movies and advertisements.

"Being gay is not a choice. You know, I did not just wake up one day after watching some advertising or Modern Family and just become gay," Bettel said. "That is not how life is. Life is in me. It is not something I chose."

His comments came before an EU summit in Brussels where he would see Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who largely pushed the LGBT bill.

"Accepting yourself is already very hard, so being stigmatized is very far reaching," Bettel said.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Prime Minister of Luxembourg Xavier Bettel
Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel arrives to attend the NATO summit at the NATO headquarters in Brussels on June 14, 2021. Bettel dismissed Hungary's new LGBT censorship law and said watching "Modern Family" did not make him gay. Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP via Getty Images

Bettel is a jaunty, sharply dressed man with a keen sense of humor who leads one of Europe's smallest but richest countries. But on Thursday, he looked deflated and disappointed.

Not for the first time, Bettel felt compelled to speak out in public about his sexuality. This time because of Hungary's new law. Hungary says the law protects children. Critics say it links homosexuality with pedophilia.

The law is widely condemned by human rights groups.

Bettel, who married his husband six years ago, believes that's out of touch with reality.

"The most difficult thing for me was to accept myself when I realized that I was in love with this person of my sex, it was hard to say to my parents, hard to say to my family," Bettel said. "I see how many young people kill themselves because they do not accept that."

Bettel complained bitterly about the mixing of "pedophilia, of homosexuality, of pornography."

"I was young, I was a homosexual. I am a homosexual. I am not so young now, but I do not consider myself to be a danger," the 48-year-old former TV talk-show host told reporters.

"To be nationally blamed, to be considered as not normal, to be considered as a danger for young people it is not realizing that being gay is not a choice. But being intolerant is a choice and I will stay intolerant to intolerance, and this will be today my fight," Bettel said.

Arriving at the summit, Orban ruled out withdrawing the law. He said it had already been "published" and defended himself as a champion of gay rights.

"I [was] a freedom fighter in the Communist regime. Homosexuality was punished and I fought for their freedom and their rights. I am defending the rights of homosexual guys. But this law is not about them, it's about the rights of the kids and the parents," Orban said.

"Things need to be said. I used to have respect for Mr. Orban," Bettel said. He said that joining the EU is not a one-way street. "Europe is not just about laws and subsidies, it's also about rights and obligations."

It's not the first time Luxembourg's premier has taken a stand. At an EU-Arab League summit in Egypt in 2019, Bettel told Arab leaders that he was married to a man and would probably face capital punishment in many of their countries.

"Saying nothing was not an option for me," Bettel wrote later in a tweet.

Luxembourg's Prime Minister Xavier Bettel
Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel arrives for an EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels on June 24, 2021. At their summit in Brussels, EU leaders are set to take stock of coronavirus recovery plans, study ways to improve relations with Russia and Turkey, and insist on the need to develop migration partners with the countries of northern Africa, but a heated exchange over a new LGBT bill in Hungary is also likely. Johanna Geron/Pool Photo via AP