Photo: European People’s Party via Flickr

The European Parliament has passed a parliamentary resolution and rejected Hungary’s new discriminatory law in the “strongest possible terms”.

On Thursday (July 8) 459 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voted in favour of the resolution, with 147 against and 58 abstaining in Strasbourg.

MEPs called the Hungarian law “a clear breach of the EU’s values, principles and law” and urged the European Commission to pursue a legal case against Viktor Orbán’s government.

Lawmakers in Hungary passed legislation on Tuesday (15 June) banning “content promoting gender change or homosexuality” within the school curriculum.

In a statement, European lawmakers called “on the Commission to launch an accelerated infringement procedure and to use all tools in the Court of Justice, such as interim measures and penalties for non-compliance if necessary.

They also call on the member states to bring the matter to the CJEU (Court of Justice of the European Union) should the Commission not act, and to launch an inter-state application to the European Court of Human Rights.”

Ursula Von der Leyen directly condemned Hungary’s anti-LGBTQ+ legislation: “This law puts homosexuality and gender reassignment on a par with pornography,” Von der Leyen said on Wednesday.

“This law uses the protection of children, to which we are all committed, as an excuse to severely discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation. This law is disgraceful.”

The ruling 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 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.

In June, Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte and leaders of 16 EU countries have signed a joint letter condemning Hungary’s new anti-LGBTQ+ legislation.

The signed letter was sent on the first day of the EU leader’s summit and pledged to “continue fighting against discrimination towards the LGBTI community”.

The letter did not address Hungary directly, but the message of solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community was hard to miss, reading: “In the light of threats against fundamental rights and in particular the principle of non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation.”

“A member state makes laws that stigmatize a sexual minority and that mix up paedophilia and homosexuality — you can’t let that pass,” Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Bettel said in a Brussels Playbook interview. “For us heads of state and government, that is not acceptable.”

Viktor Orbán has strongly defended his controversial legislation. On June 24, the Hungarian Prime Minister said the law is “not about homosexuals, it’s about the kids and the parents.”

Related: Hungarians speak out on anti-LGBTQ+ law as EU pushes for its repeal