Viktor Orbán’s government in Hungary continues to restrict the rights of the LGBTI+ community
Particularly in the light of recent developments, the situation of the LGBTI community in Hungary is increasingly difficult. Earlier this year, in June, Hungarian MPs passed a law banning the distribution of any material depicting homosexuality or gender reassignment to young people under the age of 18. This law follows a trend that has been ongoing for years. In May 2020, a law was passed making it impossible for transgender and intersex people to officially change their gender. Later, at the end of 2020, LGBTI+ couples were prevented from adopting children.
The Hungarian government has long been opposed to the LGBTI+ community in the country, both rhetorically and through the adoption of controversial laws. During the start of the coronavirus pandemic in Europe, in May 2020, Hungary passed an amendment to the law, Article 33 of which makes it impossible for transgender and intersex people to officially change their gender and have their gender recognized in line with their perception of their own identity. The amendment thus seriously violates the rights of transgender and intersex persons to dignity, private and family life, including the right to official recognition of their own gender on the basis of self-determination. The provision reinforces the already intolerant and hostile environment faced by LGBTI+ people in Hungary and deepens discrimination in all spheres of their lives.
Discrimination against LGBTI+ people was exacerbated at the end of 2020 by an amendment to the Hungarian constitution and the passing of a comprehensive amendment to the law, which, among other things, changed the rules on the adoption of children. The new amendment to the constitution stipulates that Hungary “protects the child’s gender identity at birth” and that family ties must be based on marriage, where “the mother is a woman and the father is a man”. The omnibus amendment then states that only married couples may adopt children. This has essentially made it impossible for LGBTI+ couples to adopt children, as same-sex marriage is not allowed in Hungary and same-sex partnerships do not include the right to adopt.
In June 2021, legislation was overwhelmingly voted into law that is an amendment to the law that penalizes pedophilia. This amendment prohibits, among other things, the presentation of homosexuality or the topic of gender reassignment to persons under the age of 18. This applies to education, advertisements, or films, where a non-heterosexual orientation may not be presented. The adoption of the law was accompanied by demonstrations and is presented by the Hungarian government as necessary to “ensure the healthy development of children”. Companies and organizations will also be banned from producing advertisements depicting or promoting the LGBTI+ minority if they target an audience under the age of 18.
The law has been strongly criticized by human rights defenders and human rights organizations in Hungary and abroad. Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovic said: “The proposed legislative changes are contrary to international and European human rights standards. To claim that they are being introduced to protect children is misleading and false.” More than half of EU countries have also opposed the law and called on the European Commission to intervene against the new law.