What Does Florida Have in Common With Hungary?

Esther Spurrill Jones

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A map of Florida coloured to look like the US flag.Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

What does the US state of Florida have in common with the country of Hungary? They're both pushing through laws ostensibly to protect children that are truly about LGBTQ+ issues.

Florida's "Don't Say Gay" law has been in the news a lot lately. It pretends to be a measure to protect primary school children from sexual content, but the wording is so vague it could be used against a high school teacher mentioning her wife to a kindergarten teacher displaying a rainbow photo on the wall. Critics of the law point out that it is clearly an underhanded attempt to ban any and all discussion of LGBTQ+ identities in the classroom.

Hungary just held a referendum that also claims to be about protecting young children from sexual content in schools. Multiple voters spoiled their ballots in protest, leaving less than 45 percent of the population casting valid ballots. 50 percent of eligible voters were needed to do so in order for the referendum to be valid.

Hungary had no intention of using the referendum's results however, having already passed a law last year restricting anyone under 18 from being shown pornographic content or anything the government deems to be "promoting homosexuality or transgender issues." No Homo Promo, anyone?

These laws are not to protect children; they are to give parents authority over their children's bodies, minds, and hearts. They are to allow parents to control their children in every way possible.

The choice before us is between freedom and authoritarianism, and Florida and Hungary have settled squarely on the side of authoritarianism.

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