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Hungarian parliament adopts anti-LGBT laws including de facto ban on adoption by same-sex couples

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Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban.
Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban.   -   Copyright  John Thys, Pool via AP
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The Hungarian Parliament adopted several pieces of anti-LGBT legislation on Tuesday, including an amendment that enshrines the traditional notion of "gender" in the country's Constitution and another law that de facto prohibits adoption for same-sex couples.

The amendment to the Constitution, which defines parenthood as "the mother is a woman, the father is a man," was approved by a majority of deputies, according to the official website of the Hungarian Assembly.

The text defines sex as only that of birth and adds: "Education is provided in accordance with the values based on the constitutional identity and Christian culture" of the country.

In advocating for the change in parliament, the government justified the new amendment because of the need to "protect the child from possible ideological or biological interference" from the modern Western world.

In addition, the parliament passed a law allowing only married couples to adopt children, which in practice excludes homosexuals who are not allowed to wed in Hungary. Exceptions can be made in rare cases.

It is already legally prohibited to register a sex change in civil status in the Central European country as of May this year.

"We are allowed to have and we do have an opinion on different life management habits, but in Hungary even those who belong to a minority based on their lifestyle can fully exercise their constitutional rights," prime minister Viktor Orbán told MPs on Tuesday.

On a crusade to defend traditional "Christian values," Orbán, who has been in power in Hungary for the last decade, was recently weakened by the József Szájer affair.

The long-time MEP was caught trying to escape a gay sex party by police in Brussels, causing an outcry from the opposition and the independent press against the hypocrisy of the Hungarian government.

In the past, Hungary has been condemned by the European courts for failing to respect its commitments and the primacy of Community law over national legislation and is regularly criticised by the UN, the EU, OSCE and others for flouting European values and human rights.

The lawmakers of the ruling Fidesz party also included a new definition of public funds into the Constitution, which - according to experts – reduces transparency and ensures that Fidesz would remain in control of certain institutions and state resources even if it lost the elections.

"State companies and foundations could be excluded from the definition of public funds that would be quite problematic," József Péter Martin, Managing Director of Transparency International Hungary, told Euronews.

"In Hungary, tens or even hundreds of billions of taxpayer’s money is flowing through state companies, not to mention the newly created asset management funds, and there is reason to believe, that in these foundations taxpayers money ceases to fall under the 'public fund' category.”

According to critics, the Hungarian government is changing the political playing field in its own favour at the height of the coronavirus pandemic and is fanning anti-LGBT sentiment.

But according to the government, they are only clearing up existing rules and closing loopholes that were not meant to be there in the first place.