Recognition of same-sex unions in Hungary
Hungary has provided registered partnerships (Hungarian: bejegyzett élettársi kapcsolat) to same-sex couples since 1 July 2009. This institution offers nearly all the benefits of marriage. Unregistered cohabitation (Hungarian: élettársi kapcsolat) for same-sex couples was recognised and placed on equal footing with the unregistered cohabitation of different-sex couples in 1996. However, same-sex marriage is prohibited by the 2011 Constitution of Hungary, which took effect in January 2012.
Cohabitation law applies to couples living together in an economic and sexual relationship, including opposite-sex and same-sex couples. No official registration is required. The law gives some specified rights and benefits to two persons living together, these rights include hospital visitation and access to medical information, jail and prison visitation rights for the partner of an incarcerated person, right to make decisions about the deceased partner's funeral, right to declare a same-sex partner as the next of kin, widow's pension, immigration rights, etc. Some of these benefits require an official statement from the social department of the local government that proves that the partners are indeed cohabiting.
In 2007, the Government, comprising the Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ) and the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP), submitted a bill to Parliament that would have introduced registered partnerships for both same-sex and opposite-sex couples. Parliament adopted the bill on 17 December 2007. This act would have provided all the rights of married spouses to registered partners except for the right to adopt and the right to take a common surname. The registered partnership act would have entered into force on 1 January 2009, but on 15 December 2008 the Hungarian Constitutional Court declared it unconstitutional on the grounds that it duplicated the institution of marriage for opposite-sex couples. The Court found that a registered partnership law that only applied to same-sex couples would be constitutional; indeed, it opined that the Parliament had a duty to introduce such a law. Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány instructed the Minister of Justice to draft a new, revised bill that would conform to the Court's decision.
On 23 December 2008, the Hungarian Government announced that it would introduce a new registered partnership bill in line with the Constitutional Court's decision. The legislation would offer same-sex couples all of the rights offered by the previous act, and would be presented to Parliament as early as February 2009. On 12 February 2009, the Hungarian Government approved the new bill.
The bill was adopted by the Parliament on 20 April 2009. 199 MPs (the Hungarian Socialist Party and the Alliance of Free Democrats) voted for the bill, 159 MPs (Fidesz and the Christian Democratic People's Party (KDNP)) voted against it, and 8 unallied MPs abstained. The new registered partnership act took effect on 1 July 2009. Registered partnerships are only open to same-sex couples. All the rules of marriage apply, except for the right to take a common surname, the right to adopt and to participate in artificial insemination.
In February 2018, the Budapest District Court ruled that Hungary must acknowledge same-sex marriages performed abroad as equivalent to registered partnerships.
Vote on the 2009 registered partnership bill
|Party||Voted for||Voted against||Abstention|
|Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP)||183||0||0|
|Alliance of Free Democrats – Hungarian Liberal Party (SZDSZ)||16||0||0|
|Fidesz – Hungarian Civic Alliance||0||131||0|
|Christian Democratic People's Party (KDNP)||0||22||0|
|Year||Female couples||Male couples||Total|
In September 2007, the liberal Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ), part of the governing coalition since the 2002 elections, presented a draft bill to the Parliament's Human Rights Committee. This would have allowed for full same-sex marriage by defining marriage as between two persons over the age of 18. On 6 November 2007, the committee rejected the bill without debate. Opponents of the bill pointed to a Constitutional Court ruling a few months earlier that defined the institution of marriage as a bond between a man and a woman.
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. Article L reads: "Hungary shall protect the institution of marriage as the union of a man and a woman established by voluntary decision, and the family as the basis of the nation's survival."
On 29 June 2015, Deputy Gábor Fodor from the Liberal Party introduced an amendment to the Constitution to define marriage as a union of two people and a bill to make appropriate changes in statutory laws. Both measures were rejected by Parliament's justice committee on 26 October 2015.
Several opinion polls have been conducted to gauge the attitudes of Hungary residents on the issue. A Eurobarometer released in December 2006 found that 18% agreed that same-sex marriages should be allowed throughout Europe.
A 2016 opinion poll conducted by Budapest Pride and Integrity Lab found that 36% of Hungarians were in favour of same-sex marriage, while 56% were against and 7% were undecided (21% strongly supported, 15% somewhat supported, 15% somewhat opposed and 41% strongly opposed). The poll also found that 60% of the population agreed that lesbian, gay and bisexual people should have the same rights as straight people, and 46% supported adoption rights for same-sex couples with 47% opposed. Support for same-sex marriage was higher among women (40%) than men (33%), higher among university graduates (43%), and higher among people who personally knew a gay person (46%). Opposition was mainly concentrated among religious people, with 75% of regular church attendees opposing same-sex marriage, decreasing based on the level of church attendance, and among voters of the ruling party Fidesz (71%). Among irreligious people, support and opposition were the same at 47% both. Despite a majority of Hungarians being opposed to same-sex marriage, the poll found that 60% disagreed with the belief that same-sex marriage poses a threat to Hungarian values and 66% were of the opinion that "same-sex couples want to get married as a show of their mutual love and devotion".
A poll by Pew Research Center published in May 2017 found that 27% of Hungarians were in favor of same-sex marriage, while 64% opposed it. Support was higher among non-religious people (34%) and 18–34 year olds (39%), in contrast to Catholics (25%) and people aged 35 and over (23%).
- In Hungarian: Magyarország védi a házasság intézményét mint férfi és nő között, önkéntes elhatározás alapján létrejött életközösséget, valamint a családot mint a nemzet fennmaradásának alapját. A családi kapcsolat alapja a házasság, illetve a szülőgyermek viszony.
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