Hungary Fines Bookstore Chain Over Children’s Picture Book with LGBT Families

Hungarian authorities have fined a bookstore chain for selling a children’s picture book that features families with same-sex parents.

The Pest County Government Office in central Hungary has imposed a fine of HUF 250,000 ($828) on bookstore chain Líra Könyv over “What a Family!,” a picture book depicting the life of two children with same-sex parents.

Pest County Commissioner Richard Tarnai said on Hír TV that Líra Könyv and the book’s Hungarian distributor Foundation for Rainbow Families breached the rules on unfair commercial practices because they failed to clearly indicate that the book contained “content which deviates from the norm.”

“The book was there among other fairytale books and thus committed a violation. There is no way of knowing that this book is about a family that is different than a normal family,” Tarnai said.

Foundation for Rainbow Families issued a statement defending families with same-sex parents as “completely normal, ordinary families.”

“These families have not had their own storybooks so far. That’s why we thought it important to publish a storybook that is about them — and primarily for them,” the foundation further said.

Lawrence Schimel, the American author of the book, said that the Hungarian government was “trying to normalize hate and prejudice with these concerted attacks against books… which represent for kids the plural and diverse world they live in.”

As a precautionary measure, Líra Könyv said that it will now put up a sign that says, “In this bookstore, we also sell books with non-traditional content.”

The fine comes as a new Hungarian law that bans lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) content for minors came into force on July 8, sparking criticisms from LGBT activists and from the European Union.

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