In the latest of a series of anti-LGBTQ moves, Hungary’s parliament has changed its constitution to ban same-sex couples and most single people from adopting children.
The change on Tuesday, championed by Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his right-wing Fidesz party, will allow adoption only by married couples and single people “granted special permission by the government,” reports the Washington Post. Same-sex couples cannot marry in Hungary, although they may get civil unions. Same-sex couples had previously been able to adopt by having only one partner apply to be the legal parent, “but the new law puts an end to this practice,” the Post says.
Justice Minister Judit Varga posted part of the text of the new legislation on her Facebook page:
Hungary protects the institution of marriage as a cohabitation between a man and a woman, based on voluntary decision, and the family as the basis for the survival of the nation. The basis of the family relationship is the marriage and the parent-child relationship. The mother is a woman, the father is a man.
The Háttér Society, the largest and oldest non-governmental LGBTQI organization in Hungary, tweeted that this legislation, however, will “stigmatize same-sex couples raising children and transgender people, make LGBTQI school education programs impossible and complicate single-parent adoption.” They add, in a series of tweets:
These provisions are very problematic on their own, as they go against international human rights norms and especially the rights of children. LGBTQI children exist, forcing them to live according to conservative ideals might make them invisible, but will not make them disappear.
Restricting the number of potential adoptive parents means that more children will remain in state care or be adopted abroad where they can’t maintain their language or cultural identity. There are already hundreds of children being adopted outside of Hungary.
Adopting such highly problematic laws at the peak of the COVID pandemic is even more appaling [sic]: it is part of a political strategy to divert attention away from the government’s inability to control the health and economic crisis.
The adoption legislation is not the only anti-LGBTQ move made by Orban’s government, however. In May, it banned transgender people from changing their gender identity on identification documents. These are shameful moves by the government. I hope that both national and international pressure comes to bear to reverse these harmful and short-sighted policies.
Also coincidentally released on Tuesday was the “State-Sponsored Homophobia 2020: Global Legislation Overview Update ” from the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, a worldwide federation of more than 1,600 organizations from over 150 countries and territories. Among other findings, it notes that “69 UN member States still criminalise consensual same-sex sexual acts between adults,” with six member States prescribing the death penalty.
On the positive side, 11 UN member States have constitutional provisions that specify sexual orientation in their anti-discrimination protections; 57 offer broad protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation; 81 protect against workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation; 48 impose enhanced criminal penalties for offences motivated by hate towards the victim’s sexual orientation; and 4 have nationwide bans against “conversion therapies.” Twenty-eight recognize marriage for same-sex couples (plus one non-UN jurisdiction, Taiwan); 34 provide for some partnership recognition; and 28 have joint adoption laws, with 32 allowing for same-sex second parent adoption. (Yet the data alone can be deceiving: “In Ecuador, constitutional protection co-exists with a constitutional ban on adoption of children by same-sex couples,” the report notes.) This report shows the progress that has been made over the past decades—but also, as this latest move from Hungary emphasizes, how far we have yet to go. Onward….