Hungary Adopts New Law Violating Rights of LGBTQ+ People

On December 15th, Hungary approved a new law under the supervision of the Prime Minister Viktor Orban aiming to strip same-sex couples the right to adoption. In addition, two constitutional amendments have almost been introduced only to further restrictions to their rights. This discriminatory bill, according to the country’s politicians aims “to strengthen the protection of Hungarian families and the safety of our children.” It is key to note that rights groups have led in front row for this new law to come. 

In response of the event, numerous human rights organizations have joined together to condemn this decision, which goes against the hoped progression of society’s values, tolerance and acceptation. David Vig, Director of Amnesty Hungary expressed his shock, stating “These discriminatory, homophobic and transphobic new laws are just the latest attack on LGBTI+ people by Hungarian authorities.” It is crucial to remember that Hungary is an important state member of the European Union and it is on this extent that Masen David the executive director of human rights organization Transgender Europe, called on E.U. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen “to address the rights of LGBT parents, the attempt to erase gender diverse children, and the ban on legal gender recognition in the Commission’s rule of law assessment and on-going Article 7 TEU proceedings against Hungary.”

Viktor Orban is Hungary’s longest-serving premier, having ruled the eastern European country continuously since 2010 and he has not ceased to target LGBT+ people with multiple restrictions. His claims sound as a counteract to the supposed “new ideological processes in the West” and conducted this law in attempt to “protect children against possible ideological or biological interference.” The more modern and liberal approach to the right to adoption that is largely adopted across most liberal democracies today, supports the environment in which children can express their identities and to be nurtured in safe families whether they are heterosexual or homosexual. Moreover, aside from homoskeptic policies, Hungary’s government has also been pointed out about what human rights groups say are attacks on democracy and the rule of law.

Indeed, it is key to highlight that Orban has sharpened anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric in recent months. As a rule in Hungary, only married couples are allowed to adopt, with exceptions for single people, and this would have been the pathway for a same sex couple. While Hungary is a member of the European Union, Orban has been leading his own route in the past few years, from firstly building a razor wire fence built along Hungary’s southern border in 2015 at the height of Europe’s refugee crisis, and to secondly to adopt a number of laws that E.U. leaders continue to warn Orban of undermining the country’s democracy. 

Undeniably, Human Rights Watch has described his government as an authoritarian regime. For instance, in 2018 a government decree effectively banned universities from teaching courses on gender studies. Besides, it is no coincidence that these policies are being implemented in a world distracted by coronavirus and where protests are prohibited. The international community must keep a watchful eye on Hungary as these new laws and amendments come into fruition.