Hungary restricts sales of LGBT-themed children’s books
- A decree prohibits the sale of the books concerned near churches
- PM Orban on collision course with EU and rights groups
- The ordinance sets out the implication of the new school law
BUDAPEST, Aug.6 (Reuters) – Hungary on Friday ordered stores to sell children’s books believed to promote homosexuality in “closed packaging,” tightening restrictions that have put Prime Minister Viktor Orban on a collision course with human rights groups and the European Union.
The decree also included books considered to promote gender change and contain “explicit” representations of sexuality. He asked stores to sell them separately and banned all sales within 200 meters of a school or church.
The ordinance is the first of what is expected to be a series of guidelines outlining the implications of a law passed in June banning the use of material believed to promote homosexuality and gender reassignment in schools. Read more
The European Commission has launched a lawsuit against Orban’s nationalist government over the legislation, claiming it is discriminatory and contravenes European values of tolerance and individual freedom. Read more
Orban, in power since 2010 and facing a tough election next year, has become increasingly radical on social policy in a self-proclaimed crusade to protect what he says are the traditional Christian values of Western liberalism.
In July, Hungary fined the distributor of a children’s book about same-sex “rainbow families” under a law banning unfair trading practices. Read more
Orban’s government says the new law aims to protect children and leave it up to parents to educate them about sexuality.
Several rights groups have said the law mistakenly confuses pedophilia and pornography with LGBT issues. Ursula von der Leyen, head of the EU’s Executive Commission, called this “shame”.
An Ipsos poll last month found that 46% of Hungarians support same-sex marriage. Last month, thousands of Hungarians joined the annual Budapest Pride March to protest the law. Read more
The European Commission lawsuit against Hungary and a separate measure against Poland are the latest salute in a culture clash between Brussels and some of the new EU members in Eastern Europe on a range of fundamental issues, including the rule of law and freedom of the press.
Reporting by Krisztina Than; Editing by Andrew Heavens
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