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Hungary prohibits sex change in marital status

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Hungary prohibits sex change in marital status

Patrick Seeger / EPA

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán

Hungary on Tuesday banned the registration of sex change in marital status and the legal recognition of gender identity of transgender people, despite numerous international protests.

The Hungarian Parliament, where the government of nationalist prime minister Viktor Orbán guarantees a two-thirds majority, approved a constitutional amendment included in article 33, which defines gender by "biological sex based on birth and genome".

The amendment, approved by 134 votes in favor, 56 against and four abstentions, provides for the unmodified registration of people's sex, at the date of birth, in a national register and on identity documents, preventing transgender and intersex people from changing their name and obtain documentation corresponding to your gender identity.

Previously, in this European Union member country since 2004, people were allowed to request a sex change in their marital status.

"It is sad and scandalous that Parliament has decided to adopt this odious law and disregard the concerns raised by dozens of civil society organizations and international bodies, including the Council of Europe, the European Parliament and several United Nations bodies", reacted to the agency AFP Tamas Dombos, member of the board of directors of the Hungarian LGBT Alliance.

"We will use all possible legal means to challenge this law before the Hungarian and international courts," he added.

Through a declaration, the non-governmental organization Amnesty International considered that the new article, in addition to exposing these people to more discrimination, will aggravate the already intolerant and hostile environment that the LGBT community faces.

"These provisions run counter to Hungary's international and national obligations and related to various human rights," said Krisztina Tamás-Sáróy, a researcher with the international organization.

“The Commissioner for Fundamental Rights of Hungary must act urgently and ask the Constitutional Court to review and annul the provisions of this law. Gender identity must be legally recognized and everyone must be allowed to change their legal name and gender in all official documents ”, points out the text.

Orbán saw his powers strengthened with the pandemic

After limiting the independence of justice and the media when he returned to power in 2010, Viktor Orbán started a cultural “new era” project aimed at promoting Christian and traditional values ​​following his re-election in 2018.

At the beginning of May, the Hungarian Parliament had already rejected the ratification of an international treaty aimed at strengthening the protection of women victims of violence, but understood by the Hungarian Government as a promoter of "gender-destructive ideology".

Budapest had already removed gender studies from the list of university manuals officially proposed by Hungary, related to interdisciplinary research on social relations between the sexes.

At the end of March, while riding the covid-19 pandemic, the prime minister saw Parliament strengthen its powers, having approved, for example, a bill that allows the state of emergency for an indefinite period and during the which the Chief Executive can govern by decree.

In early May, the European Commission said it was monitoring the exercise of the Hungarian Government's enhanced powers in the context of the covid-19 crisis with particular attention, hoping that the unlimited state of emergency will be lifted soon.

In September 2018, and under Article 7 of the European Union treaty, the European Parliament initiated a process for violating EU values, which in theory could imply sanctions against Budapest.

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