Press release: Hungary’s constitutional amendments crystalise state-sponsored LGBTI-phobia and the ongoing attacks on LGBTI Hungarians

Brussels, 15 December 2020

Today, the Hungarian Parliament adopted a bill with several constitutional amendments which will further limit the rights of LGBTI citizens and their lives. These amendments were proposed by the government the day after Hungary entered a new “state of emergency” following the increase of COVID-19 cases. They aim to include in the Fundamental Law (Hungarian Constitution) the following provisions: “the mother is a female and the father is a male” and “Hungary protects children’s right to their identity in line with their birth sex, and their right to education according to our country’s constitutional identity and system of values based on Christian culture.”[1]

On this basis, new legislation was also put forward, according to which only married couples can adopt children, excluding de facto same-gender couples, single and non-married individuals.[2]

The amendments to the Constitution have been heavily criticized by LGBTI civil society due to the impact they will have in further restricting rights for lesbian, gay, bi, transgender, intersex and non-binary persons. 

Terry Reintke MEP (Greens-EFA), Co-Chair of the LGBTI Intergroup in the European Parliament, comments:

The last attack on LGBTI Hungarians is draconian state-sponsored LGBTI-phobia and discrimination. Viktor Orbán continues to promote, develop and implement his right-wing and exclusionary policies. The Hungarian government aims to disenfranchise further same-gender couples, trans, intersex and non-binary persons and everyone who is not categorically within the remits of what the state considers ‘acceptable’ or ‘desirable’. European values are blatantly ignored with the latest constitutional amendments in Hungary. 

The Council must finally address these issues and urgently move forward on the Article 7 procedure against Hungary. The cancellation of the hearing of Hungary by the German Presidency, initially foreseen at the General Affairs Council of 8 December, is a missed opportunity. We call on the Portuguese Presidency to push for concrete action and ensure a hearing of Hungary is organised as soon as possible.

Marc Angel MEP (S&D), Co-Chair of the LGBTI Intergroup in the European Parliament, concludes:

Today, Hungary takes yet another step backwards and steps upon the rights of its LGBTI citizens. Can we say that there is respect for private and family life when adoption is restricted to married couples and no such legal framework exists for same-gender couples? Can we claim respect for values of the Union is ensured when trans, non-binary and intersex persons do not have their private life equally respected? What is the future of LGBTI Hungarians in this context of autocratic restriction and even rollback of rights? 

It is high time the Commission heeds the calls of the Parliament and looks beyond the rule of law to the values of our Union. It must be bolder and ensure that Union values, as stipulated in Article 2 TEU, are respected.


[1] Hátter Society: https://en.hatter.hu/news/instead-of-controlling-the-pandemic-hungarian-government-launches-crusade-against-lgbtqi-people; Amnesty International: https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2020/12/hungary-homophobic-adoption-bill-is-part-of-an-ongoing-attack-on-lgbtq-community/

[2] A special permission can be granted by the Minister for Family Policy for cases outside of this remit.

Image credits: Amnesty International


Press contacts:

Office of Marc Angel MEP – Lisa Kersch (Lisa.Kersch@europarl.europa.eu)

Office of Terry Reintke MEP – Sebastian Fietkau (Sebastian.Fietkau@europarl.europa.eu)

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