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Dispute over gay and heterosexual pride

July 7th, 2014

On the eve of the annual Budapest Pride walk, conservative columnists suspect that the gay pride movement has been taken over by a militant core that wants to force its worldview on majorities and silence those who do not agree with them. Liberal commentators accuse conservative religious defenders of traditional values and the family of reframing old style homophobia.

It has become trendy to come out as a gay, Ervin Nagy in Magyar Hírlap comments on political analyst Zoltán Lakner’s recent coming out, as he announced that he would open the annual Budapest Pride parade on Saturday. The conservative philosopher contends that those who do not celebrate homosexuality risk being labelled as stupid, retrograde or even as fascist. In today’s world, it requires more courage to come out as a conservative who supports traditional marriage and family than to openly admit homosexuality, Nagy believes. “We should do more”, he adds “to secure the rights of those who want to live in traditional families which are under constant attack in our individualistic consumer societies”.

In Heti Válasz, Szilárd Szőnyi defends his right as a conservative Catholic to see homosexuality as “a sin against God and man”. Szőnyi notes that despite his moral judgment, he tolerates homosexuals in his private life and welcomes the fact that gay couples can officially register their common-law marriages. He condemns, however, the public display of any sexual preference – including heterosexual love parade marches. Szőnyi condemns discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation, but demands that those who regard homosexuality as a moral sin should also have the right to express their opinion without being discriminated against. Meanwhile, he recalls that several Western European countries have banned ads by organizations which claim that homosexuality can and should be psychiatrically treated, while in Denmark the Evangelical Lutheran Church is forced to wed same sex couples, contradicting its own religious doctrines.

Heti Válasz editor-in-chief Gábor Borókai interprets recent “coming outs” by well-known public figures as an indication that homosexuals do not have to fear discrimination in Hungary. Hungary has always been an inclusive nation that tolerates diversity, provided that minorities also tolerate majority worldviews, he notes. Mutual respect, he continues, is “not always shown by a militant core” of gay right activists, who want to “aggressively rewrite the customs of any society” and label all their critics as homophobic rednecks. Borókai wonders “why homosexuals who come out should be seen as heroes, while those who do not want to give up their heterosexual selves have to feel as if they were cowardly bastards”.  He also suspects that the “militant core” of activists is being used by hidden political powers as vanguards to further their financial interests, by labelling traditional communities as backward and homophobic, against which it is legitimate to summon the help of the enlightened and developed world. “This whole thing is not primarily about homosexuals. It is rather a means of destroying and breaking up traditional communities,” Borókai concludes.

Magyar Narancs in its weekly full page editorial contends that the conservative defence of traditional values is nothing more than slightly reframed classical homophobia. The liberal weekly dismisses as ridiculous the claim that protecting families (that is containing homosexuality) also serves the interest of homosexuals themselves, since their old age pensions will be paid for by the offspring of those families. In reality, gay people also pay pension contributions from their incomes, Magyar Narancs notes. The weekly considers it extremely tasteless that conservatives claim to tolerate those homosexuals who “shut up” and hide their sexual preferences. In a reflection on Szőnyi’s piece, Magyar Narancs finds it peculiar that anti-homosexual conservatives who claim that homosexuality is against the laws of nature are “freaked out” when they are criticized “in the same harsh and categorical manner”. In conclusion, Magyar Narancs claims that Szőnyi’s “malicious and stupid” fulminations mirror the spirit of the government, which wants to define Hungary as a country of Christian heterosexual couples with children – and fights anyone who does not fit this description or criticizes PM Orbán.

While Prime Minister Cameron of the UK welcomes the Gay Pride and openly endorses gay marriage, Hungarian right-wing politicians and intellectuals claim that pro-gay rights activists are a violent and deviant minority which wants to force its worldview on the majority, Dóra Ónody-Molnár writes in Népszabadság. While in the UK, the Gay Pride march is a celebration of the institutionalized freedom of homosexuals, in Hungary the same demonstration is a political act that aims at achieving equality for homosexuals, the liberal columnist remarks. In an aside, she wonders whether religious conservatives who see homosexuality as a sin, are consistent and condemn (and refrain from) other Biblical sins including masturbation, premarital sex and divorce.


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