Hungary fines publisher thousands over LGBT+ kids’ book

The publisher of an LGBT+ themed children’s book has been fined by authorities in Hungary after it failed to warn parents about its queer content.

The book – which is a two-part Hungarian translation of American author Lawrence Schimel’s stories Early One Morning and Bedtime, Not Playtime – follows two children, both of whom have same-sex parents.

The Pest County Government Office issued a fine of 250,000 forint (£599) under a law that forbids unfair commercial practices.

“The company that distributes the book didn’t pay attention to the law that requires a special label for content that differs from the mainstream,” Richard Tarnai, head of the Pest county local authority said on HirTV.

“It broke the law just by having the book there among the other children’s books.”

Book distributor insist ‘rainbow families are perfectly normal’ following fine in Hungary

The Foundation for Rainbow Families, which distributed the book, wrote on Facebook that “rainbow families are perfectly normal, ordinary families”.

“We continue to believe that every family deserves fairy tales and every little child deserves the chance to recognise himself or his parents,” they added.

Schimel hit out at the decision on Twitter, calling the fine an “attack” against his book.

This time the attack against this book (which contains two fun stories about kids who just happen to be part of #rainbowfamilies, without that being the focus of the story) used a different law than the new “propaganda” law that goes into effect tomorrow.#rainbowfamily

— Lawrence Schimel (@lawrenceschimel) July 7, 2021

The furore comes as Hungary’s reviled anti-LGBT+ propaganda law continues to ignite controversy, although the children’s book was targeted under a separate law.

The country has faced fierce backlash from other European Union members for the law, which prohibits any discussion of LGBT+ people in schools, advertising and the media.

The European Parliament is considering a motion to “invite” members to sue Hungary over the law, which has been condemned “in the strongest possible terms” by European Commission president Ursula von Der Leyen.

“Homosexuality is equated with pornography. This legislation uses the protection of children… to discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation,” she said, branding the law a “disgrace”.

The motion will go to a vote on Thursday (8 July), the same day that Hungary’s anti-LGBT+ law comes into effect.