In Hungary, same-sex couples have lost the possibility of adopting after a constitutional reform that limits the concept of family to its most conservative version and has been approved among protests by the LGBT+ community and human rights organizations.
The absolute majority in the Fidesz Parliament, the party of the ultranationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, has on Tuesday approved an amendment to the Constitution and a law that only allow adoption of marriages, despite protests by the LGBT+ community, the opposition and different NGOs.
The new legal framework
The approved amendments state in the Constitution that “mother is woman, father is male” in the same paragraph that already stipulates that “marriage is the union of a woman and a man”.
Another legal reform only authorizes adoption of marriages, which means excluding members of the LGBT+ community, but also all singles.
There may be exceptions, and someone who is not married can apply for adoption, but it will be up to the Government, conretically the Minister of Family Affairs, to ultimately determine whether appropriate.
Until now LGTB+ couples had the option to adopt by the legal loophole that allowed individual adoption, but that window has now closed.
Hungary’s largest NGO for LGBT+ rights, Háttér, has criticized the Government’s prepending its national Christian ideological agenda to the possibility that children could be welcomed into a family that wants them.
While in other countries governments try to ensure that children can grow up in families, “in Hungary this possibility is gradually limited, considering as secondary the interests of minors,” the NGO says in a statement.
Criticism of the new legislation
“A New Dark Day for Hungary,” Amnesty International (AI) calls its communiqué.
“Fidesz has gone another step for LGBT+ people to be considered second-rate,” says the organization.
According to AI, this “is a dark day for Hungary’s LGTB+ community from a human rights point of view and for all those who consider equality and dignity important.”
The organization stresses that the new “homophobic and transphobic” laws are a new chapter “within the Government’s campaign against the LGBT+ community”.
The official discourse justifies the changes because “new ideas of the Western world endanger children’s right to healthy development,” justice minister Judit Varga, author of the approved changes, summed up.
This fight against “Western ideas” is why the Government has included in the text of the Constitution that children will receive an education based on Christian values.
The Government of Orbán, in power since 2010, has already established in the Constitution – which it drafted alone and which came into force in 2011 – the defense of the traditional family model.
“Hungary defends the institution of marriage, such as the union voluntarily contracted by a male and a woman,” the text says, thus excluding same-sex marriage.
This Constitution establishes “the family and the nation as the main framework of coexistence”, and defines the family as “the basis for the survival of the nation”.
The struggle to defend the values considered by the “traditional” government came to such an extent that in May 2019 the President of Parliament, the ultra-conservative László Kovér, compared homosexuals who want to adopt with paedophiles.
“Hungary is a tolerant country and patient with homosexuality, whenever they leave our children alone,” Orbán has also said in the past.
An unexpected scandal
These changes come when Hungarian public opinion still has a scandal that has called into question the values of Fidesz and which for the opposition is an example of its political hypocrisy.
József Szájer, an MEP and one of the founders of Fidesz, was caught in a homosexual in Brussels in breach of covid restrictions and, in addition, when the Belgian police were searched, found drugs in his backpack.
Szájer is not a politician but precisely the constitutional rapporteur who was responsible for drafting the paragraph that limited marriage to the union of a man and a woman.
“Although it has been discovered that one of the former founders of Fidesz spends his time in orgies in Brussels, when the pandemic is at highest, his former party voted on the amendments they make the hardest life for LGTB+ people,” says Háttér.
For the opposition, like the leftist Democratic Coalition, Orbán’s party with this scandal “has lost all its credibility from a moral point of view” and that is why they decided not to take part in the vote.
Some analysts believe that with the economic crisis and the numbers of deceased already making a dent in Orbán’s popularity, He has embarked on a path of ultra-conservative reforms to satisfy its most faithful bases.