Against a backdrop of increasing pressure from the international community, a group of activists in Hungary flew a giant, heart-shaped rainbow balloon in front of their country’s parliament building yesterday in protest of the enactment of recent laws that target the LGBTQ+ community.
President Viktor Obán has overseen the passage of a series of laws and constitutional revisions that were seen by many as an attack on the community. And the country’s parliament recently adopted a bill that would ban gay people from appearing in educational materials and in films/prime-time television programming aimed at children. The EU condemned the moves and announced they are looking at options to force Hungary to stop their discriminatory laws.
“We think that the only path we can pursue is civil disobedience, and we will not change anything about our activities,” Luca Dudits, a spokesperson for Hungary's largest LGBTQ+ advocacy group, Hatter Society, told the Associated Press.
The balloon and protest were in response to a slew of anti-gay legislation in the country. Last year under the leadership of President Obán, Hungary amended the constitution and passed a series of anti-LGBTQ+ laws that banned marriage equality and the adoption of children by LGBTQ+ people, defined gender as the sex assigned at birth, and made it illegals to promote LGBTQ+ issues or rights with children.
“This legislation uses the protection of children as an excuse to discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation,” Ursula von der Leyen, president of the EU Commission, said Wednesday in reference to the recent legislation.
The commission agreed to explore means of bringing Hungary into line with the norms and rules of the EU and international community. For his part, Obán made it clear he is little concerned with the opinions and actions of the international community in the matter.
“Whatever they do, we will not allow [LGBTQ+] activists into our children's kindergartens and schools,” Orban said in response, adding “Brussels bureaucrats have no place here.”
The government made clear it will enforce the new laws when it recently fined the distributor of the book What a Family the equivalent of $830 for featuring families with same-sex parents.
“The book was there among other fairytale books and thus committed a violation,” Pest County Commissioner Richard Tarnai, the commissioner for Pest County in Hungary told local HirTV on Tuesday, quoted by Euronews. “There is no way of knowing that this book is about a family that is different than a normal family.”
Earlier this year, the government forced a lesbian publishing group to place a disclaimer in the children’s book Wonderland is for Everyone that warned it contained “behavior inconsistent with traditional gender roles.”