Hungary’s equal opportunity authority has fined a Budapest sports centre 1 million forints (EUR 3,300) for refusing to allow members of an LGBTQ organisation to rent part of its swimming pool on the grounds of the sexual orientation and gender identity of its members.
The operator of MoM swimming pool, Hegyvidéki Sportcsarnok es Sportközpont Kft (HSK), had been open to rental enquiries until it became clear that the organisation in question was the Atlas Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Trans and Queer (LGBTQ) Sports Association, according to Atlas.
The operator claimed the number of members of the pool’s club had increased and said trainers from outside the club were not permitted, Atlas said in a statement on Tuesday.
With the support of a civil organisation, Háttér Társaság, the LGBTQ sports association turned to the equal opportunity authority in February. The authority found that booking and ticket data did not support the swimming pool’s reasons for rejecting Atlas’s application.
HSK voiced its disagreement with the fine and said it would initiate a judicial review of the authority’s decision.
The company said it had presented evidence that due to swimming pool renovations for the World Aquatics Championships, it was forced to turn away other potential contractual partners as well, which it said proved that it had not discriminated against Atlas. HSK said that over the past year, its priority was to provide space for its established partners and individual clients.
HSK criticised Atlas for “creating a public media storm” that “hurt HSK’s reputation” instead of turning to the CEO of the sports centre.