Do we believe in fairy tales any more?
Human rights court rules today on same-sex stories
The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg will pass judgment this afternoon on a book of children’s fairy tales.
The book, written and illustrated by the Lithuanian author Neringa Macatė under the pen-name Neringa Dangvydė, has since appeared in translation as The Amber Heart.
Originally published by the Lithuanian University of Education a decade ago, it was withdrawn from sale in 2014 after complaints that two of its six stories promoted same-sex relationships. The Amber Heart was reissued in 2015 with a warning that it “might have a negative effect on persons below the age of 14”.
One of the stories is about a princess who marries a young man — only to discover to her delight that the suitor is her childhood friend, a shoemaker’s daughter. Another story is about a young tailor who finds that the love of his life happens to be the son of a king.
The remaining tales deal with disability, Roma people, autism and family separation. All have happy endings.
Macatė claimed that the parental advisory label on her book breached her right to freedom of expression. The Supreme Court of Lithuania dismissed her claim in 2019, finding that the publisher had complied with laws designed to protect children.
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