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Bil Browning

Hungarian Parliament Approves Constitutional Ban on Same-Sex Marriage

Filed By Bil Browning | April 19, 2011 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: constitutional amendment, gay marriage, Hungary, same-sex marriage

The Hungarian Parliament approved a new constitution on Monday that includes a ban on same-sex marriages. Lawmakers passed the legislation with an overwhelming majority - 262 to 44. 250px-EU-Hungary.svg.pngEdge has the report:

"We've just participated in a historical moment," Parliamentary Speaker Laszlo Kover told the Associated Press after lawmakers approved the bill. "The new constitution is built upon our past and traditions, but seeks and contains answers to current problems while keeping an eye on the future."

LGBT activists protested the marriage amendment outside the Hungarian Parliament building in Budapest on Friday, April 15. Tamás Dombos of the LGBT advocacy group Háttér told EDGE after the protest that Orban's opposition to marriage equality should not surprise anyone.

Hungary has allowed same-sex couples to register as domestic partners since July 2009; but the anti-gay political party Jobbik gained Parliament seats in last April's elections. Nationalists and even neo-Nazis have even disrupted several recent Budapest Pride marches.

Keep an eye on Edge in the next few days for more exclusive interviews and reports from Hungarian activists. (img src)


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Did they also ban the domestic partnerships? Also what is the European Courts position on outright bans such as this? Plus do the Domestic partnerships allow for all of the benefits of marriage minus the title? Just curious as you know I support marriage rights for consenting adults.

As far as I know the new constitution does not end Hungary's unregistered cohabitation law, however the old constitution banned not only gay marriage but also the registered partnership law that was proposed four years ago; this law would have provided all the benefits of marriage, with the exception of adoption and name-change rights. I don't know whether or not the new constitution will prevent the RP law from being looked at again.

Re. the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), it has never made a ruling overturning a ban on marriage equality, and in a case last year the ECHR stated it would only recognise marriage equality as a human right (i.e. legalised gay marriage across Europe) once it became apparent that this was the view of a majority of Europeans. This means that what happens in the pro-gay states is crucially important to legalising gay marriage in the anti-gay states, as legalising gay marriage in as many pro-gay states as possible is by far the best way of legalising it throughout (most of) the continent.

This means the best way of getting gay marriage in states like Poland or Latvia isn't to change minds there: it's to push for legalisation in countries where it is more achievable. For the most part these are states that weren't ever part of the old Eastern bloc.

Jay Kallio | April 20, 2011 4:52 AM

Where is the international outcry against this obvious infringement of human rights?

Laurie Edwards | April 20, 2011 8:55 AM

Isn't Hungary part of the European Union? How're they getting away with this? Or is it a "we're making a moral point" law that whose proponents know won't survive an appeal?

The EU doesn't have the powers to force member states to define marriage in a specific way. It's a bit like states' rights in the USA.

However EU states are by default all subject to the rulings of the ECHR (which is part of the much larger Council of Europe) so if/when the ECHR rules that gay marriage should be legalised, Hungary would be forced to either amend its constitution or leave the European Union. The same is true of other countries, such as Latvia, Lithuania and Bulgaria.

France, the UK, Italy, Ireland, Switzerland, Germany, etc., etc., etc., all ban same-sex marriage. They aren't going to after Hungary for doing what everyone else does.