December 2, 2020 at 11:37 am EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Hungarian lawmaker resigns after gay sex scandal
Former Hungarian MEP Jozsef Szajer (Photo public domain)

A prominent member of Hungary’s ruling party that strongly opposes LGBTQ rights has resigned after he attended a gay sex party.

The Associated Press reported Hungarian MEP Jozsef Szajer, who is a member of the country’s Fidesz party that Prime Minister Viktor Orban leads, admitted he attended the party that took place in Brussels on Nov. 27.

Media reports indicate 25 people attended the party, which violated coronavirus lockdown regulations. A Belgian newspaper reported a number of diplomats were among the more than 20 naked men who authorities found at the party described as an “orgy.”

The BBC reports authorities identified Szajer after a passerby told them he saw him slidding down a gutter on the building where the party took place. The AP cites Belgian media reports that reported authorities found drugs in Szajer’s backpack after they arrested him.

Szajer resigned on Sunday.

Tamás Dombos, a board member of the Háttér Society, a Hungarian LGBTQ advocacy group, on Wednesday noted to the Washington Blade during an interview from Budapest, the Hungarian capital, that Szajer “has not acknowledged that this was a gay party or that he’s gay himself.”

“He only acknowledged that he was at a house party, but the sexual aspect of the party and the fact that it was a gay party … he did not mention that,” said Dombos.

Szajer, 59, is among those who founded Fidesz in the late 1980s.

He chaired the Fidesz Parliamentary Group in the Hungarian Parliament from 1994-2002.

Dombos noted Szajer chaired the Parliament’s European affairs committee. Szajer had also been a member of the European Parliament since Hungary joined the European Union in 2004.

Szajer was also vice president of the center-right European People’s Party. His wife, Tünde Handó, sits on Hungary’s Constitutional Court.

Dombos told the Blade that Szajer opposed Fidesz’s efforts to remove sexual orientation and gender identity from Hungary’s nondiscrimination law.

The Hungarian government tapped Szajer to help write Hungary’s 2011 Constitution.

Dombos noted Szajer said it was not necessary to include a ban on marriage rights for same-sex couple because the Constitutional Court had already ruled on the issue. Hungarian lawmakers nevertheless approved the new Constitution with an amendment that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

“He never said later on that he doesn’t agree with this,” said Dombos. “He participated in the procedure all through.”

Dombos told the Blade that Szajer was the only Fidesz politician who spoke out against efforts to ban Budapest Pride in 2011.

Hungarian lawmakers earlier this year approved a bill that prevents transgender and intersex people from legally changing their gender. A regional court on Nov. 24 ruled this law is unconstitutional.

Dombos said Szajer has not publicly commented on the statute that LGBTQ activists have sharply criticized.

“He had a very interesting record on LGBTQI issues,” Dombos told the Blade.

Dombos nevertheless said Szajer could have done more to challenge Fidesz’s anti-LGBTQ policies and rhetoric.

“The story is more tragic than the regular story of a closeted gay man being homophobic and then losing his credibility when a scandal like this hit,” Dombos told the Blade, referring to the scandal and Szajer’s LGBTQ rights record.

“He was trying to do what he could within the framework, but he was wasn’t courageous enough to come out personally and he was never courageous enough to say if you’re going forward with this homophobic and transphobic agenda than I’m quitting the party,” he added. “He never did that, so he was a coward.”

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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