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LGBT rights: Hungary passes law banning same-sex adoption

December 15, 2020

The Hungarian parliament has approved a draft law that would effectively ban same-sex adoption. It also tightens the definition of marriage and the family unit.

Belgien | EU Gipfel | Viktor Orban
Image: Olivier Hoslet/AP/picture alliance

Hungarian lawmakers on Tuesday passed a law that bans same-sex couples from adopting children.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban's conservative government proposed the legislation earlier this year, and his Fidesz party has a two-thirds majority in parliament.

Orban controls two-thirds of the Hungarian parliament
Orban controls two-thirds of the Hungarian parliamentImage: picture-alliance/AP/MTI/Z. Mathe

The law says only married couples can adopt children and single people can only adopt with special permission from the state.

Adoption by gay and lesbian couples had been possible until now if one partner applied as a single person.

Hungarian Family affairs minister Katalin Novak,  a conservative who promotes the traditional family model, would now have to give her approval to requests from single people.

Gay marriage is forbidden in Hungary.

Hungary's parliament also backed a change to the constitution that defined what a family is. "The mother is a woman, the father is a man," the amendment said.

The 2019 Gay Pride march in Budapest
The 2019 Gay Pride march in Budapest Image: Attila Kisbenedek/AFP/Getty Images

Rights groups and LGBT activists say it excludes alternative family types. They also argue the changes have been rammed through at a time when protests have been severely restricted owing to the coronavirus pandemic.

The move comes after one of Fidesz's MEPs resigned from his post  after being caught at a gay sex party in Brussels in breach of local coronavirus restrictions.

Viktor Orban und Jozsef Szajer at the European Parliament in Strasbourg in 2015
Szajer was once a close ally of Viktor OrbanImage: Fred Marvaux/EP

Jozsef Szajer, a married 59-year-old father of one, was found by police in a nearby street with blood on his hands after trying to flee the scene by climbing through a window.

Szajer was one of Orban's most loyal lieutenants for many years, helping him author some  of his socially conservative policies.

Orban's government, which champions a hard line on immigration, has made several constitutional reforms since coming to power in 2010.

jf/rc (AFP, Reuters)