LGBT rights in Hungary

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LGBT rights in Hungary
Location of  Hungary  (dark green)– in Europe  (light green & dark grey)– in the European Union  (light green)  –  [Legend]
Location of  Hungary  (dark green)

– in Europe  (light green & dark grey)
– in the European Union  (light green)  –  [Legend]

Same-sex sexual activity legal? Legal since 1961,
age of consent equalized in 2002
Gender identity/expression Gender change is legal.
Military service Gays and lesbians allowed to serve
Discrimination protections Sexual orientation and gender identity protections (see below)
Family rights
Recognition of
Unregistered cohabitation since 1996,
Registered partnerships since 2009
Same-sex marriage constitutionally banned
Adoption No joint adoption by same-sex couples; no adoption of same-sex partner's child

The rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) people in Hungary have evolved through Hungarian history. Homosexuality is legal in Hungary for both men and women. Although some personal attitudes of certain individuals may change faster than the laws, the general public in Budapest at least, is tolerant of LGBT people, and the violence or discrimination against homosexuals isn't as common anymore in Hungary.[citation needed]

Law regarding same-sex sexual activity[edit]

The first Hungarian penal code by Károly Csemegi (1878) punished homosexuality between men ("természet elleni fajtalanság" – unnatural perversion) with prison up to 1 year. Homosexual activity above the age of 20 was decriminalized in 1961, then above the age of 18 in 1978 by the new penal code. The age of consent, which is 14, has applied equally to heterosexual and homosexual activity since a Constitutional Court decision of 2002. Gay and bisexual people are not banned from military service.

Recognition of same-sex relationships[edit]

Unregistered cohabitation has been recognised since 1996. It applies to any couple living together in an economic and sexual relationship (common-law marriage), including same-sex couples. No official registration is required. The law gives some specified rights and benefits to two persons living together. These rights and benefits are not automatically given – they must be applied for to the social department of the local government in each case. Unregistered cohabitation is defined in the Civil Code as "Partners – if not stipulated otherwise by law – are two people living in an emotional and economic community in the same household without being married or having entered into registered partnership." Inheritance is possible only with testament, widow-pension is available for couples cohabiting for more than 10 years.

Gaypride in Budapest, 2008

Adoption by individuals is legal regardless of sexual orientation, but same-sex couples cannot jointly adopt, or adopt their partner's biological child. One poll indicated that 30 percent of the Hungarian public supported same-sex marriage.[1] However, according to a Eurobarometer survey published on December 2006, only 18 percent of Hungarians surveyed supported same-sex marriage, and only 13 percent recognized a same-sex couple's right to adopt, compared to the EU-wide average of 44 percent and 33 percent, respectively.[2]

On 17 December 2007 the Parliament adopted a registered partnership bill submitted by the Hungarian Socialist Party-Alliance of Free Democrats government. Since 1 July 2009 same-sex couples can enter into registered partnerships. The law gives the same rights to registered partners as to spouses except for adoption, surrogacy or taking a surname.[3][4]

On 1 January 2012, a new constitution enacted by the government of Viktor Orbán, leader of the ruling Fidesz party, came into effect, restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples and containing no guarantees of protection from discrimination on account of sexual orientation.[5] Note, however, that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation remains banned through statute, even if it is not constitutionally banned.

Adoption and family planning[edit]

Although same-sex couples cannot adopt, lesbian couples can get access to IVF and donor insemination.

Discrimination protections[edit]

In 2000, the Constitutional Court recognized that the Constitutional ban on discrimination based on "other status" covers sexual orientation as well. There exists an anti-discrimination law in the Act on Public Health since 1997. The 2003 Act on Equal Treatment and the Promotion of Equal Opportunities forbids discrimination based on factors that include sexual orientation and gender identity in the fields of employment, education, housing, health, and access to goods and services.

Transgender rights[edit]

Transgender people living in Hungary can change their legal gender. They still have to get a diagnosis, but they don't have to go through hormone therapy or mandatory genital surgery.

Living conditions[edit]

In contrast with more conservative Central European countries such as Poland and Slovakia, Hungary appears to be a more tolerant society as far as gay rights and acceptance of LGBT people are concerned.

Hungary was the host country of Mr Gay Europe 2007 contest and the Eurogames in 2012.

Budapest Pride was the first such event in the former Eastern Bloc, and draws a steady, but moderate number of LGBT people and their supporters. The LGBT festival lasts a week every summer with a film festival, pride march and parties across the city. The Festival was opened in the past by notable public figures including Gábor Demszky, then mayor of Budapest, and Kinga Göncz, then minister of foreign affairs.

Summary table[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity legal Yes (Since 1962)
Equal age of consent Yes
Anti-discrimination laws in employment Yes
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services Yes
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech) Yes
Same-sex marriage No (Constitutional ban since 2012)
Recognition of same-sex couples Yes (Since 2009)
Step-child adoption by same-sex couples No
Joint adoption by same-sex couples No
Gays allowed to serve in the military Yes
Right to change legal gender Yes
Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples No
Access to IVF for lesbians Yes
MSM allowed to donate blood Emblem-question.svg

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Hűvös fogadtatás: Közvélemény a homoszexuálisok megítéléséről" (in Hungarian). Medián. 11 July 2007. 
  2. ^ "Eight EU Countries Back Same-Sex Marriage". Angus Reid Global Monitor. 24 December 2006. Retrieved 16 March 2008. 
  3. ^ "Hungary approves partnership legislation". 18 December 2007. Retrieved 16 March 2008. 
  4. ^ "Hungary legalizes same-sex civil partnerships". Reuters. 18 December 2007. Retrieved 16 March 2008. 
  5. ^ "New Hungarian constitution comes into effect with same-sex marriage ban," PinkNews, 3 January 2012, accessed 6 January 2012.

External links[edit]