Hungary Fines Distributor Over Selling Lawrence Schimel Kid's Book With Same-Sex Parents

Hungarian authorities fined a distributor who sold a Lawrence Schimel kid's book depicting same-sex parents, the Associated Press reported.

The fine happened amid the Hungarian government facing heavy critique over a law they passed recently that prohibits the depiction of Homosexuality or gender reassignment to minors. The law is set to take effect on Thursday and is seen as an attack on the rights of the LGBT community.

The children's book is a two-part Hungarian translation of Early One Morning and Bedtime, Not Playtime! by Schimel. The books include the daily routines of two children who each have same-sex parents.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

Hungary Fines Distributor of LGBT Books
A copy of the storybook "Wonderland is for Everyone" at a bookstore on June 23 in Budapest, Hungary. Hungary has come under fire from several European Union member countries after passing new legislation banning the "promotion" of homosexuality among minors through books and films. Janos Kummer/Getty Images

The fine was imposed by the Pest County Government Office—the local authority responsible for the county surrounding the capital, Budapest.

A Pest county official told commercial television station HirTV Tuesday the book's Hungarian distributor had failed to clearly indicate it contained "content which deviates from the norm," and had thus violated rules on unfair commercial practices.

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

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, the book's distributor, Foundation for Rainbow Families, wrote that "rainbow families are perfectly normal, ordinary families," a reference to families with LGBT parents.

"The storybook is about simple, everyday events, and the sexuality of the parents is not even a theme," wrote the foundation, which must pay a fine of $830 for the violation.

Lawrence Schimel, the book's author, told the Associated Press in an email that requiring the labelling of books with content that deviates from the norm is "a pernicious concept, often used as a weapon to try to cultivate or justify prejudice and intolerance."

"It is important for all kids, not just ones in same-sex families, to see these families reflected in books—just as they exist in the world," Schimel wrote.

Hungary's government argues the law passed in June, which prohibits displaying to minors content in media or school education programs that "depicts or promotes homosexuality," is necessary to protect children and to allow parents sole control over their sexual education.

But many of Hungary's partners in the 27-member EU have blasted the law as discriminatory against LGBT people.

During a Wednesday debate in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, the five largest groups in the EU legislature voiced support for a joint resolution condemning the law, and urged the EU's executive to take action against Hungary's government.

A vote on the resolution, and a protest in Hungary's capital of Budapest in opposition to last month's law, will both be held on Thursday.

Hungary Fines Bookstore for LGBT Content
A copy of the storybook "Wonderland is for Everyone" at a bookstore on June 23 in Budapest, Hungary. A law passed in June, prohibits displaying to minors content in media or school education programs that "depicts or promotes homosexuality." Janos Kummer/Getty Images