International News Jul 7, 2021 8:08 PM EST

Hungary fines distributer for book with same-sex 'rainbow family' without proper signage

Hungary has fined a book distributor for a book not properly marked as containing a "rainbow family" as new law is set to come into effect Thursday.

Hungary fines distributer for book with same-sex 'rainbow family' without proper signage
Brendan Boucher Ottawa, ON
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Hungary has fined a book distributor for a book that contains a "rainbow families" under a law that bans unfair trade practices, a move described by its author as a "direct attack on freedom of information and the freedom to publish." Hungarian law which restricts the distribution of materials related to same-sex relationships and gender reassignment comes into effect Thursday.

The new law would ban the distribution of materials in Hungarian schools deemed to promote homosexuality and gender reassignment. The law has been condemned by the European Union and other advocacy groups. The UEFA European Football Championship also faced calls to light up the stadium in rainbow colours while the Hungarians played in protest but denied the request accepting great criticism for it.

The book is entitled "Early One Morning" and is by U.S. science fiction and fantasy writer Lawrence Schimel. The government official who levied the fines says the distributer mislead customers by not labeling the book for its "different" content and shelving it next to other children's books.

"This book was placed among other books of fairy tales and this way they breached the law," Richard Tarnai, Pest county government commissioner, told commercial channel HirTV. "The unfair practice is when… you cannot see that a family different from a normal family appears in this book. If this notice is there, it’s OK." The distributor was forced to pay a fine of 250,000 forints ($834).

The author Schimel said about the decision, "It is a coordinated attack, they are trying different methods in order to create fear about talking about rainbow families and other issues that exist in the world."

The publisher of the book, The Foundation for Rainbow Families said the book has helped numerous LGBT families in Hungary by showing the alternative lifestyle. "Rainbow families are completely normal, ordinary families… The book shows simple, ordinary happenings and the sexuality of parents is not a topic in the book."

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