Hungarian Parliament passes bill to ban legal gender recognition
Almost two years after the suspension of gender and name change requests, Parliament has passed a bill that prohibits the legal gender recognition of transgender people. Although the European Parliament, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and other international players opposed the bill, the Government did not refrain from introducing a law violating a constitutional fundamental right. LGBTI organizations have now turned to the President of the Republic asking him to send the law for review to the Constitutional Court.
Hungary’s Parliament has passed a bill that renders legal gender recognition in Hungary impossible. Parliament voted by 133 to 57 to pass the bill on Tuesday afternoon, with the two-thirds majority of Orbán’s Fidesz party enough to push it through, in spite of opposition from other parties. Opposition parties submitted several amendments, which were voted down by the Fidesz-KDNP majority one by one.
The omnibus bill was filed on March 31, the International Transgender Visibility Day, by the Hungarian Deputy Prime Minister. It amends the Registry Act and replaces the word “nem,” which in Hungarian can mean both “sex” and “gender”, with the word “születési nem” (“birth sex”), defining it as “biological sex based on primary sex characteristics and chromosomes.” According to the bill, the birth sex, once recorded, cannot be amended.
The prohibition of legal gender recognition clearly violates international human rights norms, and the consistent case law of the European Court of Human Rights. It also contradicts the consistent practice of the Hungarian Constitutional Court, that ruled in 2005, 2007 and 2018 (in 2018 unanimously) that the legal gender and name change for transgender people are a fundamental human right.
The bill has gained both national and international attention:
- The proposal has been condemned by 22 Hungarian human rights and LGBT NGOs,
- the Hungarian Psychological Association,
- the Equal Treatment Authority,
- the Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights,
- 63 Members of the European Parliament,
- the European Parliament as a whole, and
- the UN Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity; the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; the Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy and the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences
- the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe,
- the UN Independent Expert on Protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity,
- the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, The Human Rights Commissioner of the French, German and Netherlands government also condemned the bill.
The introduction of the bill is yet another example of human rights violations by Fidesz. According to the latest Rainbow Europe report by ILGA-Europe, which ranks 49 European countries based on their laws and policies on LGBTI people, Hungary peaked in 2013, ranking 9th with 55 points. Since then, Hungary has dropped back to 27th place and lost 22 points, 8.5 in the last year.
We will not give up fighting this law. We call on the President of the Republic, János Áder to not sign the law, but send it for a review to the Constitutional Court.