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Similar-Intercourse Parenthood Attracts Surprising Help in Hungary

Photographer: Gergely Besenyei / AFP / Getty Images

Photographer: Gergely Besenyei / AFP / Getty Images

Firms from Ikea to a Michelin-starred restaurant have signed up for a campaign to defend same-sex parenting in Hungary that is unexpectedly opposing Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s crackdown on LGBTQ people.

The Family Is Family campaign has recruited 140 companies so far, up from 40 in February, in response to Orban’s moves to effectively ban adoption for same-sex partners and the idea that marriage is only possible between a man and a man the constitution to anchor woman. The ranks include international giants such as Levi Strauss & Co. and HBO from WarnerMedia, as well as small and medium-sized local companies.

The drive’s popularity surprised even organizers in a country where companies have long had concerns about opposing Orban. Orban has been Hungary’s Prime Minister since 2010 and has tried to consolidate his influence in the courts and civil society. He is embroiled in clashes with European Union leaders alarmed by his authoritarian turn.

Hubert Hlatky-Schlichter in front of Babel restaurant in Budapest.

Photographer: Comrade Gregus

“A lot of people are scared and many told me not to support this campaign,” said Hubert Hlatky-Schlichter, who owns Babel, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Budapest. He lives with his male partner and hopes to raise a child one day. “I’m not afraid of government sanctions, but to be honest, that would only make the campaign resonate. This is not about politics, but about human rights. “

Orban and his followers have been promoting conservative Christian values ​​for years. The moves against the LGBTQ community are aimed at fueling its voters ahead of the 2022 elections. Polls show that the four-year-old prime minister lags behind a united opposition. However, according to a poll in December, they are uncomfortable with the majority of Hungarians, and many reject them as a step too far.

You just have to look to Poland, where more than 80 communities have declared LGBTQ-free zones, to see where such measures can lead.

Read more: Regression of LGBTQ Rights in Unexpected Places and Progress in Others

HUNGARY GAY PRIDE

An LGBT Pride Parade in Budapest that is overlooked by the police.

Photographer: Ferenc Isza / AFP / Getty Images

It is difficult to predict how successful the Family is Family campaign will be. Civil society groups critical of the government were classified as foreign agents, while an entire university that promoted an open society that conflicted with Orban’s nationalist vision was excluded.

And after the videos associated with the drive had over 7 million views on TikTok and were shown as part of public service advertising on RTL Klub, the most-watched commercial TV channel in Hungary, the government took notice.

According to RTL Klub, a unit of the German media giant Bertelsmann SE, the Hungarian media authority – led by a council whose members were all selected by the ruling party – started an investigation into the advertisements. The regulator confirmed the news but declined to comment.

In the past, companies remained largely silent when the government imposed special taxes on entire sectors and gave generous subsidies to companies that form alliances with the ruling elite. According to the World Economic Forum, investors rate Hungary as the seventh worst country in the world for “favoritism” by government officials.

“The government doesn’t like to meet resistance, and companies that stand in the way can easily become targets,” said Attila Chikan, former Minister of Economy for Orban and professor of economics at Corvinus University in Budapest.

Chikan is also a board member of the Hungarian energy company Mol Nyrt. and pharmaceutical company Gedeon Richter Nyrt, both partially state-owned and not part of the campaign.

refers to same-sex parenting attracts unexpected support in Hungary

Marton Pal and Adam Hanol.

Photographer: Istvan Bielik / Humen Media

Although the drive is growing almost daily – with numbers from the sports and media worlds and even messages saying support – one type of company is still missing, Hungary’s largest. None of the 14 members that make up the main index of the Budapest Stock Exchange, nor a state-controlled company, have registered.

Marton Pal, one of the campaign organizers, hopes there will be security in numbers for those who do so. He said they didn’t start until they had a large group of supporters because “it’s easy to pick a company, but how do you shoot more than a hundred targets at once?”

Adrienne Feller Cosmetics, a family business founded in 1999 that makes beauty products and essential oils in a small town an hour’s drive east of Budapest, was one of the first to sign up and the response was overwhelmingly positive.

“We don’t usually take part in such campaigns, but we just thought that what was happening in Hungary was going to be too much,” said Madeleine Feller, Marketing Director and daughter of the founder. “This is not about politics or government hostility, but about supporting families of all kinds.”

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