A senior Hungarian ultraconservative government official has resigned after being caught fleeing an alleged gay sex party.
József Szájer on Sunday announced his resignation as a member of the European Parliament from the Fidesz party of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. The married official admitted to attending what he called a “private party” in Brussels on Friday evening, as the Belgian capital was under lockdown from the coronavirus.
At least 20 naked men – including several diplomats – were discovered during a rally above a gay bar in central Brussels, according to Belgian newspaper La Dernier Heure, which described it as an “orgy”.
Szájer, 59, was injured while trying to jump from a first-floor window, according to the prosecution, but was apprehended by authorities, who found drugs in his backpack.
Unable to produce identification, Szájer was escorted by police to his home, where he presented a diplomatic passport confirming his identity.
Szájer was arrested, but tried to claim European parliamentary immunity, police said, which led to the involvement of the Belgian Foreign Ministry.
Other people arrested at the party, according to The Times of London, included diplomats linked to the conservative European People’s Party, of which Szájer was vice-chairman and chief whip.
In a statement Tuesday to the Hungarian press, Szájer apologized for violating social distancing rules.
“I am sorry to have broken the rules of the assembly, it was irresponsible of me,” he said. “I will take the sanctions that go with it.” He denied using narcotics, claiming to have offered to be tested for drugs on the spot. “Police said an ecstasy pill was found. It’s not mine, I don’t know who placed it and how.
Engaging continued support for Orbán, Szájer admitted that the ongoing conflicts between Hungary and the European Union had taken a toll on his mental health. “Those who are on the battlefield must be in a state of combat,” he said.
Along with Poland, Hungary has rejected the EU’s efforts to fight immigration and LGBTQ rights. In November, the two countries united to veto the € trillion EU budget and the coronavirus recovery program, as they are linked to member countries’ respect for the rule of law and European values.
In a statement, the European Parliament delegation from Fidesz hailed Szájer’s resignation as “the only right decision”.
“We recognize his decision, just as we recognize that he apologized to his family, his political community and voters.”
Szájer’s wife is Tunde Hando, Member of the Constitutional Court of Hungary and former Director of the National Judicial Office.
A founding member of Fidesz, Szájer was the head of the party’s delegation to the European Parliament and sat on its legal affairs committee. He also played a key role in drafting the controversial Hungarian Constitution of 2012, which defines marriage as “the union of a man and a woman”.
While some reports have claimed that he personally added the amendment, Hungarian gay activist Tamás Dombos said Szájer’s role in adding it was complicated.
“In 2011, he publicly stated that he personally did not agree with the inclusion of a heterosexual definition of marriage in the Basic Law, although he did not leave the editorial board when such a provision was eventually included, ”Dombos told NBC News. That same year, Szájer was the only Fidesz politician to denounce the police for banning Budapest Pride, Dombos added. (The ban was eventually revoked.)
“The European Parliament delegation from Fidesz under his leadership voted much more gradually than his fellow party members in Hungary,” Dombos said. “It is true, however, that he has not spoken out against the growing homophobia and transphobia in recent months and years. “
Szájer’s resignation comes as Hungary’s parliament is considering a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex couples from adopting. The draft text submitted last month stipulates that children should be brought up “in accordance with values based on the constitutional identity and Christian culture of our homeland”.
“The basis of family relationships is marriage,” he says. “The mother is a woman, the father is a man.”
Under the amendment, which is expected to be voted on next week, only opposite-sex married couples would be eligible to adopt children, with rare exceptions made by the Department of Family Affairs.
The amendment also states that the government “protects the right of children to the gender identity they are born with”.
The LGBTQ community has been a popular target for Fidesz, which has been in power since 2010. In May this year, for example, the government reversed regulations allowing transgender and intersex citizens to change the sex listed on legal documents.
For the most part, Dombos said, opposition parties have focused on Szájer’s hypocrisy – representing a party with traditional values while flouting the lockdown and engaging in drugs and sex in public – rather than on the gay side of the scandal.
In a Facebook post, the Hungarian centrist Momentum Movement attacked him because he believed the rules did not apply to him. But he said the incident was just another example of Fidesz’s “total moral bankruptcy”.
Last year, a video was leaked of Zsolt Borkai, a Fidesz politician and former Olympic gymnast, participating in an orgy on a yacht in the Adriatic. At the time, Borkai was married and mayor of Győr, a medium-sized town 110 kilometers from Budapest.
According to Reuters, Fidesz called the incident “a private matter” and Borkai was re-elected soon after.
In July, former Hungarian ambassador Gábor Kaleta, a member of Fidesz, was sentenced to a one-year suspended sentence and a $ 2,000 fine for possession of nearly 20,000 pornographic images of minors.
“This is not the first time that the hypocrisy of Fidesz has been revealed,” said the Momentum movement. “Cocaine [use] of the party which wants to solve the drug problem with draconian rigor. Yachting with party prostitutes talking about the sanctity of the family and the supremacy of Christian life. Participation in an illegal orgy under restrictions by a party representative who did nothing to prepare the country for the second wave of the virus. These examples show that Fidesz does not really have conservative Christian values.
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