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Lewis Hamilton slams Hungary’s ‘anti-LGBT+’ law as ‘cowardly’

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Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton said on Thursday that Hungary’s “anti-LGBT+” law was “unacceptable and cowardly” ahead of this weekend’s Grand Prix in the country.

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LGBTQ leaders say the “anti-paedophilia” bill stigmatises gay people and aims to shore up Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s radical right-wing support ahead of an election next year.

Since the law was approved on June 15, several homophobic attacks have been reported in local media, while LGBTQ activists warn of growing fear in their community. 

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Last Saturday, thousands marched in Budapest’s biggest Pride parade, a week before this Sunday’s race at the Hungaroring, to the east of the capital.

“Ahead of the Grand Prix this weekend, I want to share my support for those affected by the government’s anti-LGBTQ+ law,” Lewis Hamilton posted on Instagram.

“It is unacceptable, cowardly and misguiding for those in power to suggest such a law.

“Everyone deserves to have the freedom to be themselves, no matter who they love or how they identify,” he added.

On July 21, Orban said a national vote would be held to gauge domestic support for the law after the European Commission launched legal action against Budapest over the measure.

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The referendum called by Orban would comprise five questions, including asking citizens if they agree that schools should be permitted to “talk about sexuality to their children without their consent,” but no date has yet been set for it.

“I urge the people of Hungary to vote in the upcoming referendum to protect the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, they need our support more than ever,” Lewis Hamilton said.

“Please show love for those around you because Love will always win. Sending you positivity,” he added.

Germany’s four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, who wore trainers adorned with a rainbow flag during Thursday’s pre-race press conference, backed Hamilton’s standpoint.

“I find it embarrassing for a country in the European Union to vote on laws like this,” Aston Martin’s Vettel said.

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“Everyone is free to do what they want and that is the point.

“It is along the lines of live and let live. It is not for us to make the law but just to express the support for those who are affected by it,” the 34-year-old added.

Hamilton has been a vocal activist for various social movements such as Black Lives Matter.

The first practice for Sunday’s race takes place on Friday before qualifying on Saturday.

Seven-time world champion Hamilton trails championship leader Max Verstappen by eight points ahead of the weekend’s 11th of 23 Grand Prix events this season.

Victory on Sunday would deliver a 100th career win for Hamilton.

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