Justice Minister Varga attacks Lewis Hamilton for his condemnation Hungary’s “cowardly” anti-LGBTQ+ laws

I pinched myself when I read the very personal (and very public) attack by 40-year-old Hungarian Justice Minister, Judit Varga, against 36-year-old Formula One race car driver superstar, Lewis Hamilton.   Is she serious?  Attacking Hamilton’s character and competence because he condemned Hungary’s anti-LGBTQ legislation?

Judit Varga (left)

Here is this strange story.

British-born Hamilton is a seven-time world champion and eight-time winner of the Hungarian Grand Prix.  He is in Budapest this week to participate in Sunday’s race that attracts tens of thousands of fans from all over Europe. Hundreds of journalists cover the event.

Hungary recently introduced a “child protection” law limiting the discussion of homosexuality and transgender issues in schools.  The law connects homosexuality to pedophilia; Hungary will hold a referendum on the issue by early 2022 at the latest.

Gay bashing is official policy in Hungary and the Orbán Government has no openly gay members. PM Orbán’s one-time cultural advisor Imre Kerényi wanted to stop “the faggot lobby,” ex-Budapest Mayor István Tarlós said that homosexuality is “unnatural and repulsive” and Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén called homosexuality “a deviance” and “an aberration.” The country’s new Constitution defines marriage as strictly between a man and a woman.

Before the race Hamilton released the following statement.

“To all in this beautiful country Hungary. Ahead of the Grand Prix this weekend, I want to share my support for those affected by the governments’ anti-LGBTQ+ law. It is unacceptable, cowardly and misguiding for those in power suggest such a law.

Everyone deserves to have the freedom to be themselves, no matter who they love or how they identify. I urge the people of Hungary to vote in the upcoming referendum to protect the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, they need our support more than ever.

Please show love for those around you because Love will always win. Sending positivity.”

Lewis Hamilton

Judit Varga is Hungary’s Justice Minister with thin legal credentials yet she gained influence by being one of the most loyal supporters Viktor Orbán’s authoritarian policies. The European Commission already voiced serious concerns about the rule of law in the country and the EU opened infringement procedures against Hungary.

Justice Minister Varga felt that she has to defend the homophobe legislation and penned a response to Hamilton:

“I regret to see that today Lewis Hamilton joined the camp of international fake news producers by attacking our child protection law. The protection of Hungarian children remains the task of Hungarian parents and not of foreign racing drivers.

I myself learned the rule of the road from textbooks and not by following the media. Let me recommend Lewis Hamilton to read the Hungarian Child Protection Act before saying nonsense. Let the cobbler stick to his last and F1 driver to his race.

Good luck with the Hungaroring race!”

Varga is trying to intimidate Hamilton with a paternalistic personal attack.  She thunders that “Let the cobbler stick to his last” yet avoids talking about the issues. Instead, arrogantly attacks Hamilton by depicting him as someone who doesn’t know what he is talking about.

This is the Orbán government’s usual strategy of cynical (and childish) character assassination of those who dare to criticize Orbán’s policies.  The strategy is not working anymore and they know it.

Orbán’s chief of staff Gergely Gulyás stated emphatically to Hungarian reporters that the government will not withdraw the legislation.  He said that “Brussels’ efforts to have us allow LGBT+ activists into schools and nursery schools are in vain. We are not willing to do that.”

My translation is that Orbán is desperately trying to save face and figure out a way to withdraw the law with minimal political damage.  In the meantime the attack dogs keep mauling everybody who dares to criticize the anti-LGBTQ+ law.  Lewis Hamilton is not exempt.

György Lázár

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