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.

Unregistered cohabitation

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.

Registered partnership

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.[1] 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.[2] On 12 February 2009, the Hungarian Government approved the new bill.[3]

The bill was adopted by the Parliament on 20 April 2009.[4] 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.[5]

On 23 March 2010, the Constitutional Court ruled that the law is constitutional.[6]

In February 2018, the Budapest District Court ruled that Hungary must acknowledge same-sex marriages performed abroad as equivalent to registered partnerships.[7]

Vote on the 2009 registered partnership bill

2009 vote on registered partnerships
PartyVoted forVoted againstAbstention
  Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP)18300
  Alliance of Free Democrats – Hungarian Liberal Party (SZDSZ)1600
  Fidesz – Hungarian Civic Alliance01310
  Christian Democratic People's Party (KDNP)0220


The number of registered partnerships established in Hungary per year is shown in the table below.[8][9][10]

YearFemale couplesMale couplesTotal

Same-sex marriage

Laws regarding same-sex partnerships in Europe¹
  Civil union
  Limited domestic recognition (cohabitation)
  Limited foreign recognition (residency rights)
  Constitution limits marriage to opposite-sex couples
¹ May include recent laws or court decisions that have not yet entered into effect.

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.[11] 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.[12]

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.[13] 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."[lower-alpha 1]

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.[16][17][18][19] Both measures were rejected by Parliament's justice committee on 26 October 2015.[16][17][20]

Public opinion

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.[21]

A poll by Medián conducted in July 2007 showed that 30% considered it acceptable for same-sex couples to get married.[22]

A poll by MASMI published in December 2007 showed that 35% of Hungarians were in favour of allowing same-sex couples to get married.[23]

A poll by Szonda Ipsos in September 2009 found that the majority of Hungarians, 58%, supported the newly introduced registered partnership law for same-sex couples.[24]

A May 2013 Ipsos poll found that 30% of respondents were in favour of same-sex marriage and another 21% supported other forms of recognition for same-sex couples.[25]

The 2015 Eurobarometer found that 39% of Hungarians thought that same-sex marriage should be allowed throughout Europe, 53% were against.[26]

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".[27]

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%).[28]

The 2019 Eurobarometer found that 33% of Hungarians thought same-sex marriage should be allowed throughout Europe, 61% were against.[29]

See also


  1. 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.[14][15]


  1. "Hungary legalizes same-sex civil partnerships". 18 December 2007. Retrieved 25 February 2010.
  2. "Gov't to submit new bill on civil unions". Archived from the original on July 21, 2011.
  3. "Hungarian government proposes registered same-sex partnerships". PinkNews. Retrieved 23 August 2015.
  4. "Hungary introduces registered partnership for same-sex partners". ILGA-Europe. 20 April 2009. Archived from the original on 2 May 2009.
  5. "ILGA-Europe". Archived from the original on 2 November 2012. Retrieved 23 August 2015.
  6. "Hungarian Constitutional Court Affirms Registered Partnerships for Gay Couples". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 23 August 2015.
  7. "Hungarian court rules to acknowledge same-sex marriages abroad as equivalent to civil partnership". Medium. 8 February 2018.
  8. "Demográfiai évkönyv, 2016" (PDF). Központi Statisztikai Hivatal (in Hungarian).
  9. "Demográfiai évkönyv, 2017" (PDF). Központi Statisztikai Hivatal (in Hungarian).
  10. "Magyarország 2018 (p.119)" (PDF). Központi Statisztikai Hivatal (in Hungarian). 2019. Retrieved 2020-04-07.
  11. "Hungarian liberals to push for same-sex marriage". Monsters and Critics news. 20 September 2007. Archived from the original on 2 April 2008.
  12. "Hungarian parliament rejects motion on same-sex marriage". 7 November 2007. Archived from the original on 15 February 2012.
  13. "New Hungarian constitution comes into effect with same-sex marriage ban," PinkNews, 3 January 2012, accessed 6 January 2012.
  14. "Hungary's Constitution of 2011" (PDF). Constitute Project.
  15. "Magyarország Alaptörvénye". Köztársasági Elnöki Hivatal (in Hungarian).
  16. "T/5423 Magyarország Alaptörvényének 6. módosítása".
  17. "T/5424 Az azonos neműek házasságkötéséhez szükséges jogi feltételek megteremtéséről".
  18. "Törvényjavaslatban kezdeményezik, hogy Magyarországon is házasodhassanak azonos neműek". June 29, 2015.
  19. "Fodor Gábor: Magyarországon is engedélyezzék az azonos neműek házasságát!".
  20. "Annual Review of the Human Rights Situation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex People in Europe 2016: Hungary" (PDF).
  21. "Eight EU Countries Back Same-Sex Marriage". Archived from the original on January 4, 2011.
  22. "Hűvös fogadtatás | Közvélemény a homoszexuálisok megítéléséről".
  23. Szalai Anna (19 December 2007). "Archívum: A szabad kapcsolatok mellett -". Retrieved 23 August 2015.
  24. "A szólás szabadsága: mit mondana, ha kiderülne, hogy meleg?". MTV. 6 September 2009. Archived from the original on July 24, 2011.
  25. "Same-Sex Marriage". Ipsos. 7–21 May 2013. Archived from the original on 14 March 2016.
  26. "Special Eurobarometer 437" (PDF).
  27. "The Perception of Same-sex Marriage in Hungarian Society | Budapest Pride".
  28. "Religious Belief and National Belonging in Central and Eastern Europe". Pew Research Center. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  29. "Eurobarometer on Discrimination 2019: The social acceptance of LGBTI people in the EU". TNS. European Commission. p. 2. Retrieved 23 September 2019.