Sunday 8/1/21
HUNGARY

Hungary fines store that sold kid's book featuring gay families

The book required special labeling as it "does not represent normal families," said the head of the government office for the Pest district, Richard Tarnai
14 June 2021, Hungary, Budapest: Tourists visit the National Unity Monument, at Lajos Kossuth Square in front of the Hungarian Parliament. Photo: Robert Michael/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa
The National Unity Monument, at Lajos Kossuth Square in front of the Hungarian Parliament. Photo: Robert Michael/dpa.

A bookstore in Hungary has been fined for selling a children's book that featured gay families because it was improperly labelled, a city official in Budapest said.

The book by Lawrence Schimel and Elina Braslina required special labelling as it "does not represent normal families," the head of the government office for the Pest district, Richard Tarnai, told the pro-government Hir TV channel on Tuesday.

The government office therefore imposed a fine of 250,000 forints (825 dollars).

The crime did not fall under the recently passed law that restricts young people's access to information regarding homosexuality and transgender issues.

The proceedings against the bookstore had already been initiated before the EU country had passed that law, which was met with international outrage.

Rather, the bookstore found itself afoul of a law against unfair competition.

The law has been interpreted to require of sellers a labeling obligation if a product does not conform to the values of the constitution.

The Hungarian Fundamental Law, created in 2011 by right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban, includes the principle that a family consists of a father, mother and child.

Law restricting information

The storybook for pre-school aged children by American writer Schimel and Latvian illustrator Braslina is about a boy with two mothers and a girl with two fathers.

Everyday events are narrated, but sexuality is not addressed.

The law restricting information about homosexuality and transgender issues, passed last month, prohibits, among other things, books and other content that portrays same-sex relationships as part of normal, everyday life from being made available to people under 18.

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