Hungary approves law effectively banning same-sex couples from adopting children

‘A dark day for the LGBT+ community and a dark day for human rights,’ says Amnesty

Tom Batchelor
Tuesday 15 December 2020 17:50 GMT
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Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban leaves an EU summit on 11 December 2020. In recent years his government, facing a unified opposition for the first time, has doubled down on propagating an increasingly conservative ideology
Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban leaves an EU summit on 11 December 2020. In recent years his government, facing a unified opposition for the first time, has doubled down on propagating an increasingly conservative ideology (REUTERS)
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MPs in Hungary have approved a law that effectively bans same-sex couples from adopting children.

The legislation, passed on Tuesday in the Hungarian parliament, limits adoption to married couples, while single people can only adopt with special permission from the government.

As Hungary does not allow gay marriage, the law has the effect of preventing same-sex couples from adopting children.

Adoption by gay and lesbian couples was possible until now if one partner applied as a single person.

David Vig, director of Amnesty Hungary, called it a “dark day for Hungary’s LGBTQ community and a dark day for human rights”.

The rights group said two additional constitutional amendments would further restrict the rights of LGBT+ people in the country.

“These discriminatory, homophobic and transphobic new laws – rushed through under the cover of the coronavirus pandemic – are just the latest attack on LGBTQ people by Hungarian authorities,” Mr Vig said.

The conservative government led by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán proposed the legislation earlier this year, and his Fidesz party, which has a two-thirds majority in parliament, gave the bill the backing it needed to pass.

Alongside the new law on adoption were two constitutional amendments: the first stating that a “mother is a female and father is a male”; and the second that Hungary “protects self-identity of the children’s sex by birth”, which campaigners said would further stigmatise transgender and intersex people.

“Hungary defends the right of children to identify with their birth gender and ensures their upbringing based on our nation's constitutional identity and values based on our Christian culture,” the new wording states.

Activists called on Ursula von der Leyen, the EU Commission president, to intervene in what they said was an attempt to “erase gender diverse children”.

Katrin Hugendubel, advocacy director at LGBT+ rights group ILGA, said the bills would see children “forced to grow up in an environment which restricts them from being able to express their identities”.

She added: “Children across Hungary will be refused safe and loving families, as adoption is restricted only to married heterosexual couples. This attempt to rush through these discriminatory, homophobic and transphobic new laws are part of an ongoing attack on LGBTI people by Hungarian authorities.”

Masen Davis, executive director at Transgender Europe, said: “Earlier this year, Hungary made it impossible for trans people to change their names and legal gender marker.

“We are deeply concerned for the health and safety of trans children and adults in Hungary in such a hostile climate.”

The legislation is viewed as part of a strategy by the ruling nationalists to appeal to their base by turning to anti-LGBT+ rhetoric as the pandemic hits the economy, with one eye on the 2022 elections.

Earlier this year, a new law was passed banning gender change in personal documents, and there have been ideological battles over children's books showing diversity positively.

In recent years Mr Orban has also doubled down on propagating his increasingly conservative ideology with attacks against immigrants and Muslims.

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