A new legal rule in Hungary prohibits providing information about homosexuality to people under the age of 18. The sale of such books near schools and churches is prohibited.
Budapest (dpa) – Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has restricted the sale of children’s books with a regulation depicting or thematizing content that deviates from the heterosexual norm.
The new legal rule appeared in the Hungarian Official Gazette on Friday evening. It regulates the implementation of a controversial law that prohibits the provision of information about homosexuality, transsexuality and gender reassignment to persons under the age of 18. Parliament, dominated by Orban’s right-wing national Fidesz party, passed the law in June.
Under the new regulation, children’s books that “depict gender identity deviations or gender reassignments or sexuality per se and depict or popularize homosexuality” may not be displayed in bookstore displays or visible to anyone in stores. Such “offensive” books should also not be sold within 200 meters of schools or churches.
The 200 meter rule is reminiscent of the Prostitution Act
In addition, they must be presented in packaging that does not allow identification of the envelope. The 200 meter rule is reminiscent of Hungarian prostitution law. Sex workers are not allowed to offer their services within 200 meters of schools and churches.
The regulation will enter into force in 30 days. The underlying law provides, among other things, for a ban on books, films and other media that are accessible to children and young people and that present sexuality that is different from heterosexual. In addition, it prohibits advertising in which homosexuals or transsexuals appear as part of normality.
The law was heavily criticized at home and abroad. The European Commission has launched an infringement procedure. Critics brought it close to open censorship.