Hungary Poised to Allow Civil Unions
Another formerly communist country is poised to grant a freedom that does not exist nationally in the world’s most powerful democracy: nationwide partnership provisions for gay and lesbian families.
The Czech Republic permits registered partnerships for same-sex couples, and Slovenia (formerly Yugoslavia) extend civil unions to gay and lesbian families.
Some form of recognition and legal protection for same-sex families has also been considered, though is not yet law, in assorted other nations once belonging to the now-defunct Soviet Union, including Lithuania, Poland, and Romania.
Now Hungary is set to join other former Soviet nations in extending a measure of recognition to its gay and lesbian families in the form of a registered partnerships law, reported the UK GLBT news site Pink News www.pinknews.co.uk/news/articles/2005-11133.html
The measure will also provide domestic partnerships for same-sex couples and unmarried heterosexual couples alike.
An earlier law had passed the Hungarian Parliament, but the country’s Constitutional Court invalidated it last December on the grounds that the earlier measure, which provided partnership registration for heterosexuals, presented a challenge to the special right of marriage for heterosexuals that is provided for in the Hungarian constitution.
However, the court also found that same-sex couples should be provided with family recognition and legal protections, the Pink News article said.
The new bill has yet to clear the Parliament, but a significant percentage of families in the country are headed by unmarried couples, according to data collected by the government: just over 12% of all Hungarian families, Pink News reported.
However, the composition of the government has changed since the last gay family-friendly bill passed, shifting much more rightward. Conservatives have charged that the registered partnership bill, which essentially provides civil unions, is too much like granting gay marriage to suit them.
The new measure is the same as the one rejected by the Constitutional Court save for one detail: partnership registration is open only to same-sex couples, and would provide most of the same rights and protections as marriage.
One right that would not be available to gay couples who engage in registered partnerships would be adoption.
Domestic partnerships would remain open to both same-sex and mixed-gender couples, but would not confer any rights or protections.