András Stumpf and homosexuality: gay rights as understood by a young Hungarian conservative

András Stumpf is a prominent thirty-something conservative publicist, known most for his self-assured, sometimes aggressive and always irreverently outspoken style. He sometimes reminds me of a young, rigid, right-wing libertarian, who hasn’t come to understand that the world is full of nuance, and that these complexities require some sensitivity. Mr. Stumpf, who once worked for the Heti Válasz weekly, but is now employed by Mandiner, a conservative blog and news site, contributed a piece to the Magyar Nemzet daily paper on gay rights in Hungary. He was, in part, responding to liberal publicist Zoltán Ceglédi, who noted that hundreds of thousands of Hungarians don’t enjoy full civil rights. Mr. Ceglédi was referring to the country’s LGBT community, and the fact that same-sex marriage is not legal in Hungary. In fact, while there had been progress made in 2009 on legalizing same sex unions, Fidesz’s constitution enacted in 2012 prohibits same-sex marriage.

Mr. Stumpf, however, offers the following solution to those in Hungary’s LGBT community:

“A gay man in Hungary has the same right to marry a woman, as a heterosexual would have. Rights relate to the individual, and liberals, of all people, should know this. If someone does not want to make use of this right, because he isn’t attracted to women, then that is understandable, but it doesn’t mean that he is being deprived of his rights simply because he can’t marry a man.”

Mr. Stumpf continued his flippant line of reasoning by adding that he isn’t going to cry discrimination, simply because he isn’t allowed to participate in the women’s 100 meter breaststroke, even if he would really like to.

“Grants and funds are being dedicated to support people coming out of the closet, as if there was any merit to declaring something in public that the public has never asked to hear about,” Mr. Stumpf added.

András Stumpf.

András Stumpf.

He then spoke of how difficult it is for him to digest the fact that Zoltán Lakner, a young and talented liberal political scientist with whom he often appeared together on television news programs, has come out as being gay. “His ability to reason is outstanding, he is smart and well-prepared. And then he decided to come out of the closet. And now, whenever we meet, I simply can’t not think of the fact that he likes guys. This doesn’t happen to disgust me, and I don’t have a problem with it, I just don’t know why I need to have this piece of information, when I don’t even know if he prefers fish soup to goulash,” observed Mr. Stumpf of his reaction to his colleague’s sexuality. I presume that had Mr. Lakner not said a word about his sexuality, but had perhaps invited Mr. Stumpf over for dinner, and introduced him to his partner, then the reaction would have been no different. Mr. Stumpf wouldn’t have been able to focus on the delicious goulash, because the only thing running through his mind would have been that his friend is gay.

So maybe the problem is less with Mr. Lakner’s decision to come out of the closet, and more with Mr. Stumpf’s discomfort around this issue.

At best, Mr. Stumpf seems to be a proponent of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach. At worst, he is like many of our grandparents were on this issue thirty or forty years ago, namely: “what these people do is disgusting, but as long as they keep it a secret, and as long as they hide, I don’t really care.”

“With a little humanity and a little self-restraint, we could all live normally,” writes Mr. Stumpf of both those who publicly express their disgust with gay couples, as well as gay couples who are open about their relationship in public. “This is, after all, one of the most insignificant problems in our society, and which is only being kept on the surface by the injection of millions of dollars,” added Mr. Stumpf, implying that there is a nefarious, foreign liberal lobby deliberately pumping big money into this one issue.

A small dose of sensitivity would serve Mr. Stumpf very well.

19 Comments

  1. Wowsers, this explains almost EVERYTHING that people need to know about where Hungarian society is on gay rights. What’s Mr. Stumpf so uptight about?

  2. Miklos Banfi says:

    Stumpf baby feels uncomfortable…. And his peers, too… Oh, too bad…
    Some people feel much worse than uncomfortable from every letter he writes down. Moreover what they (the fidesz mob an co. including him) do – destroy the whole country morally, mentally and economically are just slightly bigger sins than what they are whining about, aren’t they?

  3. Charlie London says:

    You have to be brave to come out in Hungary.

    Ireland – a country in which LGBT equality and freedom was suppressed by the control over society by the Roman Catholic Church – voted for gay marriage and a more relaxed attitude to the LGBT community only a month ago.

    Gay sex was illegal right up to 1993 in Ireland – it ceased to be illegal in England in 1967.

    The RC Church lost its moral authority in Ireland due to all the sex scandals of the supposed celebate priests in the recent decades – many people’s reaction to the gay marriage referendum was that the church should ‘mind its own business’.

    In Hungary, Roman Catholicism has a hold over society like it used to have over Irish society.

    KDNP is the Roman Catholic church at prayer.

    Hence the no-shopping-on-a-Sunday legislation.

    Orban uses the Roman Catholic church for his own ends, but the sooner the church is disestablished the sooner Hungary can be a free and equal society.

    I believe the Roman Catholic Church is a doctrine of evil in Hungary, sorry to have to say it and I mean no offence.

    If you google ‘Nagybajcs’ and ‘priest’ in Hungarian you will find a story of shocking hypocrisy involving the local priest who became the village mayor – and who went ‘native’ and has turned on his own villagers.

    Some consider the root of the problem to be the priest celibacy doctrine.

    Very few sex scandals involving the priests have received much publicity in Hungary because of the government control of the media.

    The result of the referendum in Ireland was nothing short of a cultural earthquake, precipitated by the way the RC Church handled sex crimes. They had the temerity to state that sex crime in the religious community was the same as in the community in general.

    To which many say rollocks. The priests had a special position of trust in Irish society – as they do now in Hungarian society – and grossly – and evily – abused the trust of their parishioners.

    The RC Church in Hungary needs the oxygen of publicity – and then maybe the public will turn its back on the church – and give its LGBT minorities some breathing space.

    Only then can we hope that LGBT can live freely and happily like they will from now on in Ireland.

    With homophobes like Stumpf even gays like Szajer will have a hard time finding happiness in Hungary.

    It will come but its a long way off.

    • Christopher Adam says:

      Charlie, indeed it takes a lot of bravery to come out in Hungary. After I wrote this piece, I exchanged some messages with András Stumpf. I noted that coming out serves an important demonstrative purpose. It shows Hungarians who feel that they are isolated because of their sexuality, that there are others around them in society who are in the same boat. It also shows the majority population, that there are gay, bisexual and transgendered people in all areas, and that they are not some foreign, frightening “Other,” but Hungarian just like them.

      Unfortunately, Hungarian society still has a long, long way to go on this issue.

      • Unfortunately, Hungarian society still has a long, long way to go on this issue.

        …. and how fortunate we are that not every society must be the same along some uniform pattern, as the self-professed liberals and tolerants and whatnots are so eager to support diversity, so in fact Hungary is in no need to make one single steps in that direction. Apparently having diverse views on homosexuality is breaking a liberal taboo….. how fitting all this is with Monthy Python’s “You are all individuals” sketch in the Life of Brian.

  4. Charlie London says:

    Prepare for an avalanche of vituperative invective from the likes of Liladiadel and others on this subject………..

  5. Bruce Frier says:

    Nearly 50 years ago, when the U.S. Supreme Court declared unconstitutional State laws barring interracial marriage, the proponents used the same argument that Stumpf uses: since whites can marry whites, and blacks can marry blacks, there is no violation of equal protection. The Supreme Court correctly dismissed this argument out of hand, holding that the freedom to marry is ‘one of the “basic civil rights of man,” fundamental to our very existence and survival.’ It cannot be arbitrarily removed on the basis of prejudice. In 2015, as the arguments for and against same-sex marriage were aired in the U.S., lawyers never even tried to use a Stumpf-like argument, since it is so patently specious.

  6. Charlie London says:

    Yes, I think you are right, Christopher.

    Coming out pour encourages les autres gathers all momentum which emboldens others – thankfully.

    Budapest is a more liberal climate than, say more rural areas.

    In England one of the saddest things I have ever observed are the parents of a very sensitive male friend who I wondered might be gay tending a grave in a churchyard when I was trying to solve questions in a treasure hunt. His family came from a very rural area in Somerset where I had a cottage. He had committed suicide because he couldn’t stand the oppressive nature of his life in a closed community that some villages are.

    It is an added pressure that gay people find it hardest to come out to their family.

    This happened about 15 years ago, but I don’t think attitudes have changed much in our remoter communities.

    I reproach myself for not having had a more ‘intrusive’ conversation with him – I also had a property in London and gay people feel much freer in that environment.

    The tending of the grave and arranging of the flowers haunts me to this day. Such an unnecessary waste with such sadness for his parents.

  7. Typical Hungarian conservative think tank. What a dumbass argument.

    Marrying a same sex partner is not human right therefor gays cannot be deprived of their human rights. Case closed.

    “You can have any color as long as it’s black.”

  8. Pandering! It’s typical divisive tactic, which tells volumes about Mr Stump. He might, in the future, oppose women’s right to vote or drive. When LGBTQ “come out”, they are the bravest human beings. They risk their lives on a daily basis just by being honest and true. Perhaps Mr Stump should accept current time, it is now 2015.

  9. “I just don’t know why I need to have this piece of information”.

    Well you see friendship and human bonding in general is knowing stuff about another person. Sexual orientation crosses over to a bunch of stuff about a person and if you don’t know a person is gay it prevents people from truly getting to know you. To prevent someone from realizing you’re gay you have to avoid telling them about a lot of your life and experiences effectively limiting your ability to bond with other people.

    Additionally you are always on edge, making sure to avoid any and all information that could signal that your gay.

  10. David Dodson says:

    Under gender neutral marriage, straight guys would have the right to marry other guys. SO the rights would STILL be equal.
    The difference is that we don’t love women in a marrying way and prefer not to make our female friends miserable by marrying them when we can’t give them the love they need and deserve.

  11. Gays have every right, excepting one – give new definition to old social institutions. For instance marriage. That word is reserved for the community of one man – one woman.

  12. Charlie London says:

    “That word is reserved for the community of one man – one woman.”

    Balderdash.

    We often talk about a ‘marriage’ between things – meaning to ‘merge’.

    Only in a narrow religious use has it had such an unequivocal meaning.

    Or is this another Majgar definition imposed on my mother tongue?

  13. Mr. Andras Stumpf is more than right.
    Homosexuality a mental illness, like Borderline- or Down-syndrome, or incest between siblings. Therefore should not be treated as normal or something adorable.
    Too bad that most of the Western countries are losing mind and common sense.

    Sincerely, a 30-year-old straight, white christian, and conservative (real conservative, not like those in UK) from Hungary

    • Christopher Adam says:

      Vipera,

      It’s a bit frightening to think that you managed to come of age at the end of the twentieth century, that you’re a mere 4 years younger than me, and yet you can think this way. Frankly, one would have to look really long and hard for conservatives in Canada, the US, the UK and western Europe who still buy this type of nonsense…I don’t even think that my grandparents believed what you wrote.

      Whether you like it or not, change will eventually come to Hungary on this front. And one day, even most Hungarian conservatives would find what you wrote embarrassing.

    • I see you are another “conservative” that refuses to live in this day and age. You are simply trying to go back in time, which no matter what you do, time will not stand still son.

      “The weight of evidence …. In a review of published studies comparing homosexual and heterosexual samples on psychological tests, Gonsiorek (1982) found that, although some differences have been observed in test results between homosexuals and heterosexuals, both groups consistently score within the normal range. Gonsiorek concluded that “Homosexuality in and of itself is unrelated to psychological disturbance or maladjustment. Homosexuals as a group are not more psychologically disturbed on account of their homosexuality” (Gonsiorek, 1982, p. 74; see also reviews by Gonsiorek, 1991; Hart, Roback, Tittler, Weitz, Walston & McKee, 1978; Riess, 1980).
      Confronted with overwhelming empirical evidence and changing cultural views of homosexuality, psychiatrists and psychologists radically altered their views, beginning in the 1970s.

      Now when you are ready to REALLY learn some “common sense”, let me know. Until then educate yourself instead of getting all of your info from hate sites.

    • If you would like to read the whole report, here is the link.

      http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/faculty_sites/rainbow/html/facts_mental_health.html

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