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Rights Group Slams Hungarian Government Bid To Ban Adoptions By Gay Couples

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban

A proposal by the Hungarian government to restrict adoption to married couples is designed to exclude lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and families and represents "an affront to common European values," Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on November 18.

Right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban's government put forward several constitutional amendments on November 10, the same day parliament voted to extend by 90 days the state of emergency declared on November 3 to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

The parliament, where Orban's party, Fidesz, has a two-thirds majority, is set to vote on the proposals within weeks. If passed, they would be the ninth set of constitutional amendments since the Orban government came into power for the second time in 2010.

In a statement issued in Budapest, the New York-based rights watchdog urged the Hungarian parliament to "resoundingly" reject the proposed amendment to the constitution, and called on the European Union to warn member Hungary that the change is incompatible with the EU values of tolerance and nondiscrimination.

“It seems nothing will derail this government from cruelly and pointlessly targeting one of the most marginalized groups in Hungarian society, not even soaring coronavirus infections and COVID-19 related deaths,” said Lydia Gall, senior HRW researcher in the Europe and Central Asia Division.

“Under the pretext of combatting a misguided conception of ‘gender ideology,’ the government further restricts rights and stigmatizes thousands of Hungarian citizens.”

Under the amendment, only married couples will be eligible to adopt children and exceptions would only be made on a case-by-case basis. The bill effectively bans same-sex couples, single people, and unmarried different-sex couples from adopting children.

The bill is the latest in a slew of attacks on Hungary's LGBT community. In May, parliament banned legal gender recognition, effectively preventing transgender and intersex people in Hungary from legally changing their gender or sex assigned at birth.

The restriction has serious repercussions for people’s everyday lives, HRW said.

The publication in September of a Hungarian children’s book with new versions of fairy tales featuring members of marginalized groups, including LGBT people, Roma, and people with disabilities, sparked a wave of homophobic attacks, with right-wing extremist politicians shredding the book in public.

Last month Orban personally commented on the book on a radio show, saying that the LGBT community should “leave our children alone.”

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