The EU could impose restrictive measures on Hungary following legislation that will allow the banning of LGBTQ+ content in schools.

Helena Dalli, European Commissioner for Equality, said Brussels would impose measures against Hungary for their potential ruling.

Speaking before Hungary’s legislation was enacted, Dalli said the measure would be similar to those applied to Polish regions which considered themselves “LGBT-free” and LGBTQ+ free zones.

“The message is that if you don’t uphold the values of democracy or equality of the European Union, you are not entitled to take money for your project,” Dalli told Reuters.

As Viktor Orbán’s ruling party continues to curtail the rights of LGBTQ+ citizens, lawmakers in the country passed legislation on Tuesday (15 June) banning “content promoting gender change or homosexuality” within the school curriculum. 

The legislation was passed by 157 votes to just one in the National Assembly, despite leading human rights officials and activists in Europe criticising the bill as “an affront against the rights and identities of LGBTI persons”.

The ruling national-conservative Fidesz party were joined by the right-wing Jobbik party in overwhelmingly voting in favour of the new measure, while an independent lawmaker voted against it.

Leftist opposition parties boycotted the voting session in protest, while thousands of LGBTQ+ activists held a demonstration in Budapest on Monday (14 June) in an unsuccessful effort to prevent the new measure being passed into law.

LGBTQ+ activists and human rights groups have condemned the legislature, seeing it as another opportunity for LGBTQ+ citizens to be harassed and discriminated against because of their sexual orientations and/or gender identities.

The bill has widely been compared to Russia’s “gay propaganda” law, which was passed in 2013, that bans disseminating “propaganda on non-traditional sexual relations” among Russians.

Budapest mayor Gergely Karacsony called it a “shameful day” and said “the opposition’s place is not in the parliament but on the streets.”

Presented last week by Fidesz, the new legislation aims to tackle paedophilia within the country and includes amendments banning representation of any sexual orientation, besides heterosexuality, and sex reassignment information in schools.

It also applies to films and advertisements aimed at anyone under the age of 18.

Greens lawmaker Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield – the European Parliament’s rapporteur in Hungary – criticised the new law, stating: “Using child protection as an excuse to target LGBTIQ people is damaging to all children in Hungary.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Michael Roth also tweeted: “Today’s decision in #Hungary’s parliament represents another severe state discrimination against #LGBTIQ people. This law goes against everything we regard as our common European values. Full solidarity and support for LGBTIQ people in Hungary.”