Bookshop Fined in Budapest for 'Gay Propaganda'
The Budapest government office has fined one of Hungary's largest bookstore chains, Lira Konyv, for violating a controversial law banning "gay propaganda" among children.
This was reported by AP.
The Lira Konyv bookstore chain, the second largest in Hungary, was fined 12 million forints (32,100 euros) for selling the popular teen graphic novel Heartstopper.
Contrary to the provisions of the Hungarian law banning "gay propaganda" among minors, the books were sold in bookstores in the teenage literature section and not in sealed packaging.
"The investigation showed that the books in question depicted homosexuality, but they were nevertheless classified as children's and youth literature and were not distributed in sealed packaging," the Budapest government office said.
In its statement, the agency stressed that it had ordered Lira Konyv to ensure the legal distribution of the book, and that it would "always take strict action against companies that do not comply with the law".
The fine is based on Hungary's 2021 Child Protection Law, which prohibits the display of homosexual content to minors in the media, including television, films, advertising and literature. It also bans LGBTQ+ content in school curricula and prohibits the public display of products that depict or promote gender differences from the sex at birth.
The Hungarian government insists that the law, which is part of a broader statute that also increases criminal penalties for paedophilia and creates a searchable database of sex offenders, is necessary to protect children. But critics of the country's right-wing government see it as an attempt to stigmatise lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
In April, 15 European Union countries backed a lawsuit against the law in the European Court of Justice, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called it a "disgrace."
Hungary has promised to defend its anti-LGBT law in the Court of Justice of the European Union.
The fine against the Hungarian bookstore chain was imposed just two days before Budapest Pride, an annual event that gathers thousands of LGBTQ+ people and their supporters in the Hungarian capital.
As reported by The Gaze, during a conference on the legalisation of same-sex marriage, Czech President Peter Pavel supported the initiative and called it unacceptable to restrict the rights of members of society because of their sexual orientation.
In addition, it was reported that the 22nd LGBTQ+ festival Moldova Pride was held in Moldova from 12 to 18 June. More than five hundred people took part in the peaceful demonstration, which marched along the main streets of the capital.
For the first time in the history of Moldova Pride, such an event did not require heavy police cordons to protect the protesters, mostly from representatives of the Orthodox Church. This indicates a certain change in the mood in Moldovan society.
And in Ukraine, according to opinion polls, the greater visibility of gays and lesbians in the military is a catalyst for changing public attitudes.
Recognising their contribution, Ukrainian lawmakers recently introduced a bill that would recognise same-sex relationships and address the lack of inheritance, medical and other rights for partners of killed or wounded LGBTQ+ soldiers who fought against the Russian occupation forces.