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]

Same-sex sexual activity legal? Legal since 1961,
age of consent equalized in 2002
Gender identity/expression Gender change is legal.
Military service Gays, lesbians and bisexuals 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. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is banned in the country. However, households headed by same-sex couples are not eligible for the same legal rights available to opposite-sex married couples. Registered partnership for same-sex couples was legalized in 2009.

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. Unregistered cohabitation is defined in the Civil Code as "when two persons are living together outside of wedlock in an emotional and financial community in the same household, provided that neither of them is engaged in wedlock or partnership with another person, registered or otherwise, and that they are not related in direct line, and they are not siblings." Inheritance is possible only with testament, widow-pension is available for couples cohabiting for more than 10 years.

Gaypride in Budapest, 2008

On 17 December 2007, the Parliament adopted a registered partnership bill submitted by the Hungarian Socialist Party-Alliance of Free Democrats Government. The bill was found unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court because it duplicated the institution of marriage for opposite-sex couples. In February 2009, the Parliament approval a modified version of the bill. 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.[1][2]

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.[3] 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. Adoption by individuals is legal regardless of sexual orientation.

Discrimination protections[edit]

LGBT flag map of Hungary

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.

Gender identity and expression[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 sex reassignment surgery.

Blood donation[edit]

Gay and bi men are allowed to donate blood following a 12-month deferral period.[4]

Living conditions[edit]

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, a 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.

Freedom of speech and expression[edit]

In 2012, Jobbik MP Adam Mirkoczki introduced a constitutional amendment to the Parliament seeking to ban "the promotion of sexual deviations". The amendment would punish the "promotion of homosexuality or other disorders of sexual behaviour" with up to 8 years in prison. LMBT Federation, a Hungarian LGBT advocacy group, protested against the amendment and called on Parliament to reject it. The Democratic Coalition also voiced their opposition and called it "mean and shameful".[5] The amendment ultimately failed to pass.

In November 2016, the small Hungarian town of Ásotthalom passed a law banning "gay propaganda", Muslim call to prayer and Muslim clothing. The Mayor called on Christians locals to support a "holy war on Muslims and multiculturalism".[6] In April 2017, after a lawsuit challenging the ban was filed, the Constitutional Court struck down the ban, ruling that it violated human rights law as it aimed to "limit directly the freedom of speech, conscience and religion".[7]

Public opinion[edit]

One poll conducted in 2007 indicated that 30 percent of the Hungarian public supported same-sex marriage.[8] 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.[9] According to the 2015 Eurobarometer, 39% of Hungarians support same-sex marriage.

In May 2015, PlanetRomeo, a LGBT social network, published its first Gay Happiness Index (GHI). Gay men from over 120 countries were asked about how they feel about society’s view on homosexuality, how do they experience the way they are treated by other people and how satisfied are they with their lives. Hungary was ranked 49th with a GHI score of 47.[10]

Summary table[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity legal Yes (Since 1962)
Equal age of consent Yes (Since 2002)
Anti-discrimination laws in employment Yes (Since 2003)
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services Yes (Since 2003)
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech) Yes (Since 2003)
Same-sex marriage No (Constitutional ban since 2012)
Recognition of same-sex couples Yes (Since 2009)
Stepchild adoption by same-sex couples No
Joint adoption by same-sex couples No
Gays, lesbians and bisexuals allowed to serve in the military Yes
Transgender allowed to serve in the military Emblem-question.svg
Right to change legal gender Yes
Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples No
Access to IVF for lesbians Yes
MSM allowed to donate blood No/Yes (1 year deferral period)

See also[edit]


External links[edit]