Hungary’s parliament approved a bill on Tuesday that redefined the concept of “family” in the country’s constitution. The bill, which defines family as having a female mother and a male father, essentially bans same-sex couples, as well as most single parents, from adopting children.
The move has been criticized by LGBTQ+ rights groups worldwide. “This is a dark day for Hungary’s LGBTQ+ community, and a dark day for human rights,” Director of Amnesty Hungary David Vig said in a statement. “These discriminatory, homophobic, and transphobic new laws — rushed through under the cover of the coronavirus pandemic — are just the latest attack on LGBTQ people by Hungarian authorities.”
Fidesz, the ruling conservative party led by prime minister Viktor Orban, has consistently campaigned on an anti-LGBTQ+ agenda, advocating a turn to traditional values. Orban faces re-election in 2022 and has been accused of pushing virulent LGBTQ+ legislation at a time when people cannot protest publicly due to coronavirus restrictions. According to reporting from Reuters, the bill was submitted to parliament last week before a new round of restrictions took effect.
This is not the first time Hungary’s parliament has imposed limits of LGBTQ+ persons. In May, the parliament adopted a law banning gender recognition for transgender and intersex persons. And while the country currently recognizes same-sex unions, Orban and his party oppose same-sex marriage.
The wave of homophobia from Hungary, as well as Poland, has recently led the European Union to launch its Equality Strategy — the first of its kind in the EU — to combat growing anti-LGBTQ+ policies in Eastern Europe. The Strategy targets action in four ways: “by tackling discrimination; ensuring safety; building inclusive societies; and leading the call for LGBTIQ equality around the world.”