Hungary should outlaw 'gender propaganda' in constitution - Deputy PM

BUDAPEST, Nov 5 (Reuters) - Hungary should enshrine in its constitution a ban on “gender propaganda” to protect children, Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjen was quoted on Thursday as saying, in the latest instance of anti-LGBTQ statements from the right-wing government.

“Why is private life not enough for (gays), why do they want official recognition?” Semjen said in an interview with Demokrata, a magazine closely allied with the government’s ideology.

Rights groups say Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s nationalist Fidesz party and his political allies, the small Christian democratic party KDNP, have increased hostility to the LGBTQ community since he won a third term in 2018.

In May, the government banned gender change in personal documents. It has also taken issue with children’s books that portray diversity positively.

The gay community fears that it might become the target of concerted political attacks ahead of the next election due in 2022, much as Poland’s ruling party made opposing “LGBT ideology” a key issue in its recent election campaign.

Semjen, who chairs KDNP and has served as Orban’s deputy for a decade, holds a largely ceremonial role responsible for national unity, but is an important communicator of the government’s ideology, especially to religious voters.

He is not new to radical pronouncements. In 2005, as an opposition deputy, he told his party’s gathering that liberals were a threat to children.

“If you want your teenage son to get his first sexual experience with a bearded older man, do vote (liberal),” he said.

On Thursday, he said LGBTQ people should not be allowed to adopt children and start families.

“They should not be called family, because that is a sacred notion,” he said. “They should not adopt children, because children’s right to healthy development is stronger than homosexual couples’ need for a child.” (Reporting by Marton Dunai; Editing by Alex Richardson)