Hungary’s parliament has passed a resolution that will pave the way for the government to hold a referendum on LGBTQ+ issues.

As Prime Minister Viktor Orbán enters a tough election race in 2022, the move will raise his anti-LGBTQ+ campaign to a heightened level.

Earlier this year, he proposed that the country hold a referendum that could limit how schools teach homosexuality and transgender issues.

“The Hungarian government proposes that citizens should have a chance to express their stance on the issues of gender propaganda,” deputy minister Balazs Orban told parliament.

“We are committed. We believe that we… have to say no to LGBT+ propaganda in schools carried out with the help of NGOs and media, without parental consent.”

With the help of right-wing populist party Fidesz’s ruling majority, parliament voted on and passed the referendum questions one by one.

The deputy minister suggested that the referendum should be held on the same day as the parliamentary vote – which is expected to be held in April – to save taxpayers money, but noted that it will be up to President Janos Ader to decide on a finalised date.

Hungarians are expected to be asked the following in the referendum:

  • Whether or not they support sexual orentiation workshops being held in schools without the consent of parents;
  • Whether or not they think gender reassignment procedure should be taught to children;
  • Whether or not media content that could impact sexual orientation should be shown to children unrestricted;

It comes as Orbán, who has been in power since 2010, faces his first competitive election in over 10 years.

His anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric has been a key strategy to appeal to right-wing supporters and conservative voters, which he often aligns with the idea of safeguarding Christian values.

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

It 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 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.