(See Below for Case Law, Evidence of Public Attitudes, NGOs that Assist or Advocate on LGBTI issues, and Country of Origin LGBTI Specialists)
Since 2003 the Act on Equal Treatment and the Promotion of Equal Opportunities explicitly prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, education, social security and health, housing and access to goods and services.
Unregistered cohabitation between same-sex partners has been recognized since 1996 and registered partnership offering similar benefits as marriage (property, inheritance, pensions, for example) has been available to same-sex couples since 2009, although registered partners cannot take their partner’s name, adopt or have access to assisted reproduction. Same-sex marriages and registered partnerships performed abroad are recognized in Hungary as registered partnerships.
In January 2012, a new Hungarian Constitution entered into force. It does not specifically prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Sexual orientation and gender identity are only implicitly covered under ‘other status’ (Article XV). The new constitution also restricts the definition of marriage as to a union between a man and a woman (Article L). Additionally, the new Family Protection Act also defines the family unit as heterosexual and states that preparing for family life should be part of the school curriculum.
The age of consent in Hungary depends on the age of the parties involved as outlined in Section 201 of the Criminal Code: “The person who has sexual intercourse with a person who has not yet completed his fourteenth year, as well as the person who has completed his eighteenth year and engages in fornication with a person who has not yet exceeded his fourteenth year of age, commits a felony and shall be punishable with imprisonment from one year to five years”. Therefore the age of consent is 14 if the other party is less than 19 years old or 15 if the other party is over 19 years old.
The Criminal Code includes regulation on “incitement to hatred” against any social group, which also covers sexual orientation and gender identity. Since February 2009, the Criminal Code contains similar legislation on hate crimes as well: “violence against a member of a community” is a separate felony with enhanced penalty if the violent act is motivated by the victim’s belonging to a particular social group.
CONSTITUTIONAL COURT DECISION NO. 154/2008. (XII. 17.)
The decision of the Constitutional Court found that introducing registered partnership for same-sex couples is not unconstitutional, but a constitutional duty: the legislator is required to introduce an institution similar to marriage for same-sex couples, because the legal recognition for their partnership follows from the right to human dignity, the right to self-determination and the right to personal development. The Court also found that there is no constitutional reason for having different rules for marriage and registered partnership for same-sex couples. The Court still declared the Registered Partnership Act of 2007 unconstitutional, as registered partnership was also available for different-sex couples.
CONSTITUTIONAL COURT DECISION NO. 37/2002. (IX. 4.)
The decision of the Constitutional Court found that the Criminal Code cannot set a different age of consent for same-sex and different sex sexual relations. According to the Constitutional Court that amounts to discrimination based on sexual orientation. The Court also found that sexual orientation is an inherent part of human dignity, thus exceptional reasons are needed to legitimate such discrimination.
CONSTITUTIONAL COURT DECISION NO. 20/1999. (VI. 25.)
The decision of the Constitutional Court found that the fact that non-penetrative sexual relations between different-sex siblings is not criminalized, but it is criminalized for same-sex siblings is discrimination based on sexual orientation, and thus is unconstitutional. It was the first time that the Constitutional Court claimed that the prohibition of discrimination on the basis of other status in Article 70/A of the Constitution also covers discrimination based on sexual orientation.
PUBLIC ATTITUDES AND/OR STATE’S CAPACITY TO PROTECT
There were a number of hostile developments in Hungary during 2012. A controversial new Constitution came into force, which omits sexual orientation from the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination, while it restrictively defines marriage exclusively as a union between a man and a woman. A number of other regressive legislative proposals were also made to ban ‘homosexual propaganda’, to introduce new crime of ‘propagation of disorders of sexual behaviour’ and to limit freedom of assembly and expression; these proposals were defeated in Parliament and explicit reference to sexual orientation and gender identity was included in the Hungarian legislation on hate speech and hate crime.
Russian president Putin signed a law that bans the so-called ‘propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations’, with Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus and Hungary attempting to implement similar restrictions. However, LGBT organizations are free to operate in Hungary. The first LGBT organization was founded in 1988, there are currently more than a dozen such organizations. A national umbrella organization bringing together NGOs involved in LGBT issues was set up in 2009. LGBT public events (including Pride Marches) have taken place in Hungary since 1997. Since 2007 violent anti-gay protestors have attacked the March several times. In 2011 and 2012 the police refused to grant permission for the Pride march, but the Court later overturned the decision.
According to Eurobarometer 2012, 42% of Hungarians believe sexual orientation discrimination is widespread. This is slightly below the EU27 average (46%). 34% believe gender identity discrimination is widespread. This is slightly below the EU27 average (45%). Hungarians scored 4.2 on a scale from 1 (‘totally uncomfortable’) to 10 (‘totally comfortable’) when asked how comfortable they would feel with an LGB individual in the highest elected political position in their country. This is significantly below the EU27 average (6.6). Hungarians scored 3.8 on a similar scale when asked about transgender/transsexual person in the highest elected political position in their country. This is significantly below the EU27 average (5.7).
NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS (NGOs)
Háttér Társaság (Háttér Society)
H-1132 Budapest, Csanády u. 4/B.
Tel: +36 13 29 26 70 or +36 1 238 0046
Fax: +36 1 799 8418
Háttér Society is one of the largest and most active LGBTQI organizations in Hungary. Founded in 1995, its aims are to protect the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) people and to promote their wellbeing. Háttér works towards these aims by calling attention to the problems faced by LGBTQI people; lobbying against discriminative laws and promoting legislation protecting LGBTQI people; providing support services; encouraging the self-organization of LGBT communities; and preserving and spreading LGBTQI heritage and culture.
Activities of the organization are centered around four core programs. The information and counselling hotline available via a toll free telephone number and online chat offers information and help with everyday problems faced by LGBTQI people and their families. The legal aid service targets victims of discrimination, harassment and violence, but alsoprovides advice on any legal matter where the sexual orientation or gender identity of the person might be significant. The HIV/AIDS prevention program operates a 24h hotline, a network of condom machines at LGBTQI venues, and publishes brochures on safer sex. The archive and library collects books, articles, audiovisual material, as well as other relics that document the history of the LGBTQI movement in Hungary. Besides the core programs Háttér is also regularly involved in research, training and advocacy activities.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN SPECIALISTS
No specialist on LGBTI issues in Hungary is currently listed here, but we welcome suggestions.
Researched by: Victoria Smythies