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Conservative Hungarian official resigns after alleged ‘gay orgy’ escape

Fidesz-KDNP Member of the European Parliament Jozsef Szajer gives a speech to launch the campaign of the right-wing Fidesz ruling party ahead of the European Parliament elections on April 5, 2019 in Budapest. PETER KOHALMI/AFP via Getty Images

A Hungarian politician who defined marriage as “between man and woman” in his country’s constitution has resigned after police caught him fleeing a gay sex party during a coronavirus lockdown in Brussels last week.

Authorities say Jozsef Szajer, 59, clambered out a window and shimmied down a gutter pipe to escape a police raid on the party last Friday, amid a ban on large gatherings in Belgium.

He was arrested at the scene along with more than 20 others, most of whom were naked or semi-naked men, according to reports.

Local media say the party was a gay sex orgy — something that would be at odds with the conservative Christian ideology of Szajer’s political party.

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Szajer did not have any identification on him but claimed diplomatic immunity as a member of European Parliament (MEP), according to Sarah Durant, a spokesperson for the Brussels region’s deputy public prosecutor.

“The man’s hands were bloody,” Durant said. “It is possible that he may have been injured while fleeing. Narcotics were found in his backpack. The man was unable to produce any identity documents. He was escorted to his place of residence, where he identified himself as S.J. by means of a diplomatic passport.”

Szajer is a senior member of Fidesz, the ruling nationalist party run by Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Hungary. Szajer was a founding member of Fidesz and helped draft the country’s constitution in 2011.

The conservative Christian party has slowly eroded LGBTQ2 rights over the last decade, and Szajer himself has claimed credit for the “man and woman” definition of marriage in the constitution.

He resigned on Sunday amid loud accusations of hypocrisy, citing the “emotional burden” of daily life in politics.

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Szajer confirmed that he was at the party in a statement on Tuesday after news of his resignation failed to quiet the scandal. He also acknowledged that he broke the coronavirus rules, but denied knowledge of the drugs that police say they found in his backpack.

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“I am sorry that I have broken the rules of assembly,” he wrote. “This was irresponsible on my part, and I will take the sanctions that come with it.”

Szajer says police brought him home and let him go with a verbal warning.

He did not address media reports that the party was an all-male orgy in Brussels’ gay bar district.

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Orban condemned Szajer’s behaviour on Wednesday.

“What our representative, Jozsef Szajer, did has no place in the values of our political family,” Orban said. “We will not forget nor repudiate his 30 years of work, but his deed is unacceptable and indefensible.”

The Fidesz caucus in the European Parliament said resignation was the “only right decision” for Szajer.

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“We acknowledge his decision, just as we acknowledge that he has apologized to his family, his political community and to the voters,” it said in a statement, according to The Guardian.

Szajer is married to Tunde Hando, a prominent justice on Hungary’s Constitutional Court. The couple have a daughter together.

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Two other EU diplomats also invoked diplomatic immunity after they were caught at the party, prosecutors said. Their identities have not been released.

David Manzheley, who organized the all-male sex party, told Belgian paper HLN that he didn’t know Szajer was an MEP when he arrived. He said Szajer was at the party as someone’s guest.

Belgium is the seat of European Parliament, and its elected members enjoy certain legal protections. Szajer has been an MEP since 2004.

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He is the second Fidesz member to be embroiled in a sex scandal in as many years.

Last year, a mayor was caught participating in an orgy on a yacht during an election. He was re-elected to his post a few weeks later despite the scandal, which his party dismissed as a “private matter.”

Szajer’s last day on the job will be Dec. 31.

With files from The Associated Press