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Court overturns pride parade ban

Hungary’s Budapest Metropolitan Court on Feb. 18 overturned city
officials’ refusal to grant permission for this year’s gay pride parade.

The city’s ban came after organizers sought to extend the route of the
June 18 march to an endpoint in Parliament Square. Officials claimed the
new route would disrupt traffic and disturb an ongoing photo exhibit
outside the Parliament Building.

A coalition of local organizations along with pan-European LGBT groups and
Amnesty International had harshly criticized the ban, and pride organizers
went to court to block it.

“Hungary currently holds the presidency of the European Union and surely
is sending the wrong signal about the union’s respect of human rights of
all,” said Evelyne Paradis, executive director of the European Region of
the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association.
“Indeed, such a blatant denial of the right to free and peaceful assembly
goes against the EU fundamental principles of democracy and respect of
diversity.”

Other problems have cropped up recently in Hungary, as well, Paradis said.

“The ban on the pride march adds to our concerns with the deteriorating
situation for LGBTI in Hungary,” she said. “Currently there is a proposal
to amend the country’s constitution to limit the scope of marriage to one
man and one woman with the effect of banning the possibility of a future
opening of marriage to same-sex couples. Additionally, the current
Hungarian EU presidency program has no reference to the rights of LGBTI
people even in events that deal with equality. Moreover, a draft media law
is currently being revised after heavy criticism from the EU (that is)
aimed to prevent among other things same-sex affections in the media. We
believe that represents a dangerous signal not only to LGBTI people in
Hungary, but also across the EU. We call upon EU institutions and member
states to remind Hungary of its duties and about the EU fundamental
principles of equality, nondiscrimination and respect for human rights for
all.”

The vice president of the European Parliament’s LGBT Intergroup, Sophie in
‘t Veld, agreed that the pride ban was “potentially indicative of what the
new Hungarian constitution and media law may have in stock for LGBT
people.”

“Enshrining inequality in law and in the constitution would be an immense
step backwards, putting Hungary at odds with the values it signed up to
when joining the European Union,” she said. “We cannot accept the EU being
led by a presidency that disrespects equality and freedom of assembly.”

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