LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

New Hungarian Constitution: ILGA-Europe urges Hungarian parliamentarians to uphold European human rights standards

Next Monday, 18 April 2011, the Hungarian parliamentarians will have their final vote on the proposal for a new Constitution of Hungary. Various provisions of the draft of the Constitutions already caused serious concerns from various European institutions and human rights organisations. ILGA-Europe joins these concerns and urges the Hungarian parliamentarians not to support those provisions which do not meet minimum European human rights standards.

ILGA-Europe is particularly concerned with the fact that the proposed draft contains a definition of marriage as union between a man and a woman only. Such a restrictive definition clearly shows that Hungary wants to institutionalise homophobia in its supreme law. While Hungary already has registered partnership legislation for same-sex partners, such constitutional provision, if adopted, will mean that same-sex partners will be deprived from enjoying full legal equality as different sex partners.

Additionally, such restrictive definition of marriage would create serious restrictions in terms of the implementation of the EU free movement directive as same-sex partners married in other EU countries would not be recognised as married in Hungary. This is in direct breach of the EU Treaties, the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the EU freedom of movement directive which encourages EU member states to facilitate free movement for married and registered partners across the EU regardless of sexual orientation/gender of the partners.

Furthermore, Háttér our Hungarian member organisation informed us that while the Hungarian lawmakers state that the anti-discrimination provision of the proposed Constitution is based on the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights they have omitted sexual orientation for the list of banned grounds of discrimination, in spite of the fact that the Charter explicitly includes sexual orientation among the banned grounds of discrimination. This omission signals once more that the proposed Constitution goes against the current European human rights standards which clearly include sexual orientation as a ground of anti-discrimination.

Martin K.I. Christensen, Co-Chair of ILGA-Europe Executive Board, said:

“We are seriously concerned with the proposed Hungarian Constitution. The proposed draft signals a worrying sign of Hungary’s departure from the EU principles of equality and non-discrimination for all, and from European legal traditions.

We appeal to the Hungarians legislators to use this opportunity of revising their Constitution by affirming progressive and inclusive principles and values rather than taking a backward step towards limitation, marginalisation and discrimination.

Secondly, we appeal to the EU institutions to interfere with what appears to be a conscious move against principles of equality and non-discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation enshrined in EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and EU freedom of movement directive.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Article 19 TFEU: 1. Without prejudice to the other provisions of the Treaties and within the limits of the powers conferred by them upon the Union, the Council, acting unanimously in accordance with a special legislative procedure and after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament, may take appropriate action to combat discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.

Article 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union: Non-discrimination

1. Any discrimination based on any ground such as sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age or sexual orientation shall be prohibited.

EU freedom of movement directive