Firms from Ikea to a Michelin star restaurant have signed up for a campaign in defense of same-sex parenthood in Hungary, bringing unexpected resistance to Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s anti-LGBT crackdown.
The Family is family campaign has enlisted 140 companies so far, up from 40 in February, in response to steps by Orban to effectively ban adoption for same-sex partners and enshrine in the constitution the idea that marriage is possible only between a man and a woman.
The ranks include international giants such as Levi Strauss & Co. and WarnerMedia’s HBO, as well as small- to mid-sized local businesses. The drive’s popularity is surprising even its organizers in a country where companies have long been wary of taking a stand against Orban.
Hungary’s premier since 2010, Orban has sought to consolidate his hold over courts and civil society, and is embroiled in clashes with European Union leaders alarmed by his authoritarian turn. For years, Orban and his followers have been promoting what they call conservative Christian values.
The moves against the LGBT community are designed to fire up his voters ahead of elections in 2022, with polls showing the four-term premier trailing a united opposition. Yet they sit uncomfortably with the majority of Hungarians, according to one survey in December, with many rejecting them as a step too far.
It’s hard to predict how successful the campaign will be. In the past, businesses remained largely silent when the government imposed special taxes on entire sectors while extending generous subsidies to companies that strike up an alliance with the ruling elite. Civil society groups critical of the government have been labeled foreign agents while an entire university that promoted an open society jarring with Orban’s nationalist vision was expelled.
Indeed, though the drive is growing nearly every day, one kind of company is still missing, Hungary’s largest. None of the 14 members that make up the main Budapest stock exchange index nor any state-controlled corporations have signed on.
But this is not about politics, this is about human rights and equality!
Watch the video of this campaign: