Hungary bans adoption by same-sex couples and transgender people

The Hungarian parliament has agreed to a law banning adoption by same-sex couples and transgender persons. This was largely the decision of the extreme right-wing party of Viktor Orban, the Prime Minister of the country. Marriage for same-sex couples was already forbidden, but adoption was possible when one partner applied as a single partner, until now.

Hungary also redefines the concept of family in the constitution with ‘the mother is a woman, the father a man’. It is now only legal to adopt a child for married heterosexual couples, but exceptions can be made for single people.

Changes in childhood development 

Besides, Hungary wants parents to raise their children in a conservative way. A constitutional change about childhood development has been made with the words that ‘the new law protects the right of children to self-identify according to their gender of birth’. This is very harmful, according to Leopold LindeLauff, chairman of Rainbow House Limburg, an organization that works around sexuality and gender diversity.  ‘Children will directly end up in a man-woman world where they aren’t supported and even forbidden to change their sex assigned at birth. I know a few transgender persons that had a very bad childhood because their sex assigned at birth didn’t match their gender identity. It made them happy to have the freedom and possibility to make sure it does match.’

Fear of the unknown

The nationalist and right-wing party Fidesz has made multiple efforts to make changes against LGBTQ-members and immigrants. In May this year, Hungary passed a law that bans legal recognition, meaning that transgender and intersex people can’t change the sex that they were born with. Anti-gay and anti-immigrant attacks have become very common in Hungary.

Lindelauff is convinced that it has to do with fear of the future and fear of the unknown. ‘These conservative political parties only want to hold on to things that they know, even if that means taking someone else’s freedom away. They want to go back in time, but forget that the past hasn’t been great.’

‘We live in a magical time right now, where we are allowed to be who we want to be. People don’t have to agree, but as long as we can continue to debate about this, it shouldn’t be an issue. The moment that the disagreement and even hate will turn into laws, it becomes highly problematic,’ he adds.

‘A dark day for human rights’

Rights groups and activists react indignantly to the Hungarian law. David Vig, director of Amnesty Hungary, said that ‘this is a dark day for Hungary’s LGBTQ community and a dark day for human rights’. Plenty of people also wonder whether the European Union can do something about this. ‘A response from the European Union can be that they throw Hungary out of the EU. This is not a good solution, since the country will even have more freedom to implement discriminatory laws,’ mentions Lindelauff.


Keep fighting for LGBTQ rights

Lindelauff also emphasizes the importance of continuing to fight for LGBTQ rights. ‘Belgium and its neighboring countries consist of a very strong democracy, so I don’t really see the same situation happening here. However, every country has politicians and specific political parties who want to rethink human rights and want to have the same laws as Hungary and even Poland. We have to pay attention.’

Text: Jilke Tielemans, photo: © Maico Pereira via Unsplash