The Hungarian National Museum is defying the government's ban on minors visiting the World Press Photo exhibition, claiming they don't have the authority to ask for visitors' IDs, local media reported on November 2.
The controversy started last week after the far-right Our Homeland party requested the ban because of a series of photos on the life of elderly LGBT people in the Philippines it deemed incompatible with the legislation passed in 2021, punishing the "promotion" of homosexuality to minors.
The legislation, seen as a copy-paste of Russia’s homophobic laws, stigmatises gay people and conflates sexual and gender diversity with paedophilia under the pretext of protecting children.
The European Commission launched an infringement procedure against Hungary on the issue and referred Budapest to the Court of Justice of the EU.
The Hungarian Ministry of Culture acted swiftly on the call by the far-right party, seen as a satellite entity to the ruling radical right Fidesz party, and ordered the museum to deny access to minors to visit the exhibition.
The World Press Photo opened in September and showcases the award-winning photographs of 2023, including the series of pictures by Hannah Reyes Morales, who works for the New York Times.
'Home for the Golden Gays' tells the story of a Philippines gay community who have lived together for decades and support each other.
The executive director of World Press Photo, Joumana El Zein Khoury was surprised by the government's decision.
"There is nothing explicit or offensive in these pictures. This series is a sensitive and honest portrayal of how an elderly LGBT community in the Philippines lives," she added.
The controversy has attracted many to see the exhibition in its final days, including many under 18.
The museum’s director, former state secretary of the predecessor of the Ministry of Culture between 2018-2022, thanked Our Homeland MP Dora Duro for the publicity.
"The nation's museum is alive and well. Thank you, Mrs Duro, and a big thanks for the attention, love and understanding of our audience, Laszlo. L. Simon wrote in a Facebook post.
Duro, deputy leader of the far-right party, is a leading anti-gay proponent. Earlier, she shredded to pieces a children's book publicly, which retells fairy tales with sexual and ethnic minorities as main characters.
Duro replied and said her party would table a bill that would allow museums to ask for identity cards of visitors.
Simon, a Fidesz nominee, had also voted in favour of the controversial anti-gay legislation in 2021.