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article imageCampaigners angry as Hungary constitution bans gay marriage

By Andrew John     Apr 20, 2011 in Lifestyle
Gay groups are angry that Hungary’s new constitution bans same-sex marriage and doesn’t protect the rights of homosexuals.
The European branch of the International Gay and Lesbian Association (ILGA-Europe) has denounced the new constitution, which defines marriage as that between a man and a woman.
“Such a restrictive definition [of marriage] clearly shows that Hungary wants to institutionalize homophobia in its supreme law,” ILGA-Europe says, as quoted in a report by Rex Wockner in the Pink Paper.
The organization continues: “While Hungary already has registered-partnership legislation for same-sex partners, such a constitutional provision, if adopted, will mean that same-sex partners will be deprived from enjoying full legal equality as different-sex partners.
“Additionally, [it] would create serious restrictions in terms of the implementation of the [European Union] free-movement directive, as same-sex partners married in other EU countries would not be recognized as married in Hungary.”
The provisions in the constitution mark a “a worrying sign of Hungary’s departure from the EU principles of equality and nondiscrimination for all, and from European legal traditions,” according to ILGA-Europe’s co-chair, Martin K. I. Christensen.
Explicitly defined family model
Writing in Pink News, under the headline “Hungary approves new ‘anti-gay’ constitution”, Jessica Green quotes the Hungarian organization of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights as saying that the decision “expresses a preference for an explicitly defined family model, a certain way of life and conveys the message that it does not wish to become the constitution of those who wish to pursue a different way of life.”
Amnesty International, reports Pink News, has warned that the omission would contradict international human-rights laws and the country’s own equal-opportunity rules.
In February this year, the Budapest Metropolitan Court overturned a ban on a Gay Pride march in the city, a move that was welcomed by Amnesty. The organization said at the time:
The original police resolution had justified the banning of the Pride march by an alleged disruption of traffic. However, the Court found that “the arguments of the [police] resolution cannot prove completely the lack of alternative routes. According to the Law on the Right of Assembly, the negative consequences on traffic on the affected roads cannot in themselves be a justification for the prohibition.” The Court further noted that “if the Court was to accept … the reasoning about the traffic obstruction, it would mean that virtually no public events could be held anywhere in Budapest.”
A spokesman for Pride organizers the Rainbow Mission Foundation, Sandor Steigler, said: “In June 2011 we will organize our march for the 16th time to show the diversity of our community, and through peaceful protest call the attention of policymakers and the broader society to the problems of LGBT people.
“We welcome anyone committed to the cause of human rights and acceptance, regardless of sexual orientation or political opinion to join us at our march.”
The new constitution also appears to ban abortion by saying that “foetuses will be protected from conception onwards,” says Jessica Green in Pink News.
In the vote on the new constitution, 262 members of the 386-seat parliament voted in favour; 44 voted against; and the opposition left-wing Socialists and green LMP party boycotted the vote.
The current constitution dates back to 1949 and the country’s leading party, Fidesz, has argued that a new one is vital for economic growth.
More about hungarian constitution, Gay rights, Gay marriage, Samesex marriage, Human Rights
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