After the parliament had approved the extension of the state of emergency – and right after the anti-LGBTQ Joseph Szajer resigned from his MP post after being caught at a gay sex party in Brussels -, the government submitted an amendment to the Hungarian Constitution. An amendment, which would ban adoption by same-sex couples.
In November 2020, the Fidesz government proposed the amendment that would ensure “education under the values based on Hungary’s constitutional identity and Christian culture”. The same amendment also restricts the ability of single-parent families to adopt. The law overwhelmingly passed by MPs loyal to the nationalist, culturally conservative government effectively bans same-sex couples from adopting children by restricting adoption to married couples. In December 2020, the constitutional ban was immediately implemented.
Homosexuality is legal in Hungary. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and sex registered at birth is banned in the country. However, households headed by same-sex couples are not eligible for all of the same legal rights available to opposite-sex married couples. Registered partnership for same-sex couples was legalized in 2009, but 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 says.
An amendment also defines family as based on marriage and the parent-child relation. Adoption by same-sex couples had been possible until now if one partner applied as a single person. The new law says only married couples can adopt children. Single people can only adopt with special permission approved by the Hungarian Family affairs minister, Katalin Novak, a conservative who promotes the traditional family model.
“This is a dark day for Hungary’s LGBTQ community and a dark day for human rights.”said David Vig, director of Amnesty Hungary.
A new children book was released on the 21st of September. Meseorszag mindenkie, or A Fairy Tale for Everyone, is an anthology of retellings of traditional fairy tales, updated with more diverse, LGBTQ characters. The book includes 17 stories, featuring characters that are gender-diverse and from different ethnic, religious and socio-economic backgrounds. The protagonists are Roma, lesbian or gender non-conforming who live in poverty or with disability. The authors aimed to make children’s literature more diverse, and this is the very first children’s book about LGBTQ people in Hungary.
On the 23rd of September, 2020, a citizens’ initiative was launched to get bookstores to remove the book from their offerings. The petition was signed by tens of thousands in one week. MP Dóra Dúró tore up the pages of the book one by one then destroyed the pages with a shredder in a video posted on YouTube, saying it is homosexual propaganda. As a result, the book’s sales increased, and it was also placed at the top of the online bookstores’ success list, thanks to the supporters. It was not the first homophobic action in the country. In June 2018, the Hungarian State Opera House cancelled 15 Billy Elliot performances, saying that the show could turn kids gay.
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán answered the question about the scandal around the book.
“Hungary is a tolerant, patient country in terms of homosexuality. But there is a line that cannot be crossed, and I sum up my opinion on this: gays, leave our children alone! “