Hungary's government proposes draft legislation to ban adoption for same-sex couples

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By Matthew Holroyd  & Associated Press
LGBT right activists march with a rainbow flag during the Gay Pride parade in Budapest.
LGBT right activists march with a rainbow flag during the Gay Pride parade in Budapest.   -  Copyright  AP Photo/Bela Szandelszky - FILE

Hungary’s government has proposed draft legislation that would ban adoption for same-sex couples.

The new law would mean that only married couples can adopt children and single people can only adopt with special permission from the minister in charge of family affairs.

Justice minister Judit Varga, a member of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's ruling right-wing Fidesz party, submitted the legislative amendments to parliament.

Orbán’s government also proposed a constitutional amendment requiring children to be raised with a Christian interpretation of gender roles.

Human rights groups have described the draft bill as an attack and campaign against the LGBT community.

Adoption is currently only possible for same-sex couples in Hungary if one partner applied as a single person.

Hungary has increased its anti-LGBT rhetoric throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and says the new bill would increase “emphasis on children's rights during adoption”.

Under new provisions, Hungary would recognise families based on marriage, where "the mother is a woman, the father is a man".

Draft law timing 'not accidental'

The bills were submitted to parliament late on Tuesday to shore up support for the government, just before tough coronavirus restrictions took effect on Wednesday in an effort to curb a rise in infections.

The Hatter rights group in Hungary says the timing is "not accidental" and has accused the government of prioritising anti-LGBT sentiments over health measures.

"Proposals that are severely restrictive, contrary to international and European human rights principles, were tabled in the hours following the parliamentary ratification of the special legal order," the group said in a statement.

"[This is] at a time when the means of expressing citizens' views, such as demonstrations, were not allowed."

The Hatter rights group has also rejected the government's focus on "traditional values" and says the draft bill with limit adoption opportunities for children.

"Restricting the possibility of adoption to married couples reduces the number of potential adopters, thus preventing children left without parents from finding a family."

"We refuse to allow the government to use LGBT people as a political toy."

Euronews has contacted the Hungarian Ministry of Justice for a response to the Hatter rights group.

In May, Hungary approved legislation banning the legal recognition of transgender and intersex citizens in personal documents.

The country has also taken issue with children’s books that portray diversity positively.