Budapest, Apr 4 (EFE).- Hungary’s referendum on a law concerning LGBTQ issues especially concerning minors – criticized as homophobic both within and outside the country – has failed to reach a minimum quorum of 50 percent of valid votes, the National Election Office said Monday.
Only 44 percent of the votes cast Sunday were found to be valid, rendering the process null.
Besides the valid votes, another 20 percent were not counted because over incorrect markings or protest messages, as demanded by LGBT rights organizations and the opposition.
The referendum sought popular endorsement of a law that was initially introduced to fight child abuse.
However, the ruling Fidesz party led by Prime Minister Viktor Orban, added to it sections on pedophilia and a ban on talking to minors about homosexuality and sex change.
The approval of the law caused the European Union to start an infringement procedure against Hungary, considering it homophobic, discriminatory and contrary to community values.
The failure of the referendum will not affect the LGBTQ law in question, which continues to be in force, and which the government has so far shown no intention to modify.
The referendum conained four questions worded in such a way as to make it difficult for many Hungarians to oppose the law.
“Do you support holding information events on sexual orientation to minors, in public education institutions without parental consent?” and “Do you support the promotion of gender-reassignment treatments to minors?” were two of the questions.
The other two were on permitting “unrestricted” exposure of sexual content that “may influence the development” of minors, and on “showing minors media content on gender changing procedures.”
The European Council had described the questions as ambiguous and misleading.
The government, which urged voters to answer “no” to all questions, claimed it only wanted to protect minors from what it considers an attempt by the EU to disseminate ideas about sex change or sexuality in schools.
The referendum was held alongside the general elections in which Orban won a fourth consecutive term with an absolute two-thirds majority in the parliament.
In 2011, Orban introduced in the new Hungarian Constitution the definition of marriage as the exclusive union of a man and a woman. Subsequently, it prohibited the registration of transgender name changes and adoption by same-sex couples.
According to studies, Hungarian society is increasingly tolerant of homosexuality and most support same-sex marriage or legal recognition of gender and sex change. EFE