Top Hungarian court rules it’s fine to compare homosexuality with paedophilia

Viktor Orbán addresses the media

One of Hungary’s top courts has said it’s fine to conflate homosexuality with paedophilia ahead of a nail-biting referendum on LGBT+ rights.

On Tuesday (1 February), a Budapest court ruled that the pro-government newspaper Magyar Nemzet likening the decades-old publisher Labrisz Lesbian Association to a “paedophile organisation” did not damage the its reputation.

Two years ago, Labrisz printed an anthology of traditional fairy tales inspired by the queer community, including a prince marrying a prince and a doe wishing to become a buck.

But in a Magyar Nemze article published 12 October 2020, a sociologist said Labrisz’s book, Wonderland is for Everyone, was “paedophilic” because “that what it’s all about”.

The Budapest Metropolitan Court of Appeals overruled a November decision by a lower court that found the article “severely offensive, unjustifiably offensive, devastating, unfounded opinion,” EuroObserver reported.

In a stark resemblance to the so-called “LGBT+ propaganda” bill, the Budapest court seemingly said that being LGBT+ and being a paedophile are one and the same.

The court’s reasoning even looked to the bitter bile spewed by Hungary’s strongman leader, Viktor Orbán, who has singled out LGBT+ Hungarians as the right’s next target.

The Hungarian Helsinki Committee, a human rights group that represented Labrisz in court, said in a statement that because Orbán connected LGBT+ people with paedophiles during a 3 October radio interview, Magyar Nemzet was fine to do the same.

“Hungary is a patient, tolerant country as regards [to] homosexuality,” Orbán said. “But there is a red line that cannot be crossed, and this is how I would sum up my opinion: Leave our children alone.”

The panel of judges even said that the article was based only on “scientific evidence,” leaving activists stunned at how deeply entrenched Orbán’s bolshy brand of homophobia now is in Hungarian society.

The Labrisz Lesbian Association had already been ordered by the Government Office of the Capital City Budapest to add age disclaimers on its books.

Viktor Orbán ‘vile lie’ remains unchallenged ahead of vital referendum, say Hungary activists 

Hungary, named alongside Russia and the UK by the Council of Europe for launching “virulent attacks” on LGBT+ rights, has increasingly considered queer folk as public enemy number one.

Commanding a super-majority in parliament, Orbán has sought to shore up support from Hungarians ahead of the election by introducing a wave of laws based on an extreme vision of Christianity and family values that see LGBT+ rights as a threat.

The leader of the populist Fidesz party announced earlier this month that the nation will head to the polls to not only decide the country’s next prime minister but the very future of LGBT+ rights as well.

Indeed, on the very same day as the parliamentary election, citizens will also be asked to vote on Orbán’s so-called “LGBT+ propaganda” referendum.

Demonstrators mark with LGBT+ Pride flags during a Pride parade in Budapest, Hungary

Demonstrators march during the annual Pride parade on 24 July 2021 in Budapest in defiance of the anti-LGBT+ campaign being waged by the Hungarian government. (Getty/Janos Kummer)

Orbán proposed the referendum in July amid international condemnation over his party’s cruel amendment to an anti-paedophilia law banning any discussion of LGBT+ people in schools and in the media. Critics say that the bill equates homosexuality with paedophilia.

The five-question plebiscite will ask Hungarians if they support “sexual orientation workshops” in schools without parental consent and even whether they believe gender-affirming surgeries should be performed on children.

To activists, the court ruling and the referendum are one and the same. Both are attempts to squash LGBT+ rights and turn the country against them.

“Today’s court ruling excuses and encourages this vile, manipulative lie and these perpetrators,” said Dorottya Rédai, who spearheaded the picture book, in a statement.

“Children must be protected from the very kind of abuse and exclusion that hateful and irresponsible politicians who are acting in their defence represent.”