HUNGARY is becoming crazier as each day passes. It’s now in the news for fining the distributor of a children’s book about same-sex ‘rainbow families’ because it apparently did not carry a content warning.
Author of Early One Morning, American science fiction and fantasy writer Lawrence Schimel, above, described the move as:
A direct attack on freedom of information and the freedom to publish.
A local government official said the distributor had misled customers because the book, which features a boy with two mothers, was placed in shops among other children’s books without flagging its contents as “different”.
The fine of 250,000 forints ($834) was imposed under legislation that bans unfair trade practices, and came just before a new law – condemned by the European Union –came into force this week to tighten a ban on disseminating content in Hungarian schools “deemed to promote homosexuality and gender reassignment.”
A local government official said the distributor had misled customers because the book, which features a boy with two mothers, was placed in shops among other children’s books without an adequate warning about its “different” content.
The Hungarian translation of Early One Morning shows the everyday lives of two families from the perspective of children.
Richard Tarnai, above, Pest county government commissioner, said:
This book was placed among other books of fairy tales and this way they breached the law. The unfair practice is when… you cannot see that a family different from a normal family appears in this book. If this notice is there, it’s OK.
Tarnai did not name the distributor.
Schimel told Reuters it was significant that his book had come under attack just before the new law targeting LGBTQ+ rights enters into force in Hungary.
It is a coordinated attack, they are trying different methods in order to create fear about talking about rainbow families and other issues that exist in the world.
The Foundation for Rainbow Families, publisher of Early One Morning, said in a statement on its Facebook page on Wednesday that the book had helped the roughly 1,000 “rainbow families” in Hungary, which refers to parents of the same sex bringing up a child, or to an LGBTQ+ parented family.
Rainbow families are completely normal, ordinary families … The book shows simple, ordinary happenings and the sexuality of parents is not a topic in the book.
The European Union and rights groups have strongly criticised Hungary’s new law. On Wednesday the head of the EU executive, Ursula von der Leyen, repeated her call for it to be repealed, saying it was “a disgrace” to discriminate against people on the basis of their sexual orientation.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s right-wing government says it is protecting traditional Christian values against what it sees as the excessive liberalism of western Europe.
Against a background of international outrage against the law, far-right Christian imbecile and Trump lover, Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša, above, came rushing to Hungary’s defence.
During a joint press conference with Ursula von der Leyen, Janša emphasised the importance of respecting the differences and national sovereignty of each member state.
There are differences that need to be taken into account and respected and I think there’s a clear division between national and European competences.
Last week, Poland seemed to be the only EU member state to back Hungary. The nation’s Education Ninister, Przemysław Czarnek, told Polish conservative magazine Sieci on Monday that:
We should copy these regulations on Polish soil in their entirety!
In 2015, Slovenia went back and forth over the question of LGBT rights. A law legalising same-sex marriage and adoption by homosexual couples was passed in March of that year. It was overturned following a popular referendum which took place that December.
A bill was eventually passed in 2016 allowing civil unions, granting all privileges of marriage to same-sex couples with the exception of joint adoption. A petition for a second referendum was launched, but this time it was not allowed to go ahead, and the bill eventually passed into law.