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social sciences

Alpha Index:  A-B  C-F  G-K  L-Q  R-S  T-Z

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The Hungarian Revolution of 1956, a nationwide revolt against the Stalinist government of Hungary, was met with a massive assault on Budapest by the Soviet Union. After a period of repressive consolidation, the Communist government moved toward a somewhat more liberal style of politics, dubbed "Goulash Communism." When the Hungarian parliament legalized freedom of assembly in 1989, the power of the Communists quickly diminished and the party was dissolved. The last of the Soviet troops withdrew from Hungary in 1991.

Hungary joined the European Union on May 1, 2004.

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GLBTQ Rights

Within recent years, the Hungarian glbtq community has seen considerable improvements to its legal and social status.

The Hungarian Penal Code of 1878 made sexual relations between men (defined as "perverse fornication") punishable by law.

In 1961, homosexual activity above the age of 20 was decriminalized, then above the age of 18 in 1978 under Paragraph 199 of the revised Hungarian Penal Code. Nevertheless, Paragraph 199 also imposed a penalty of up to three years in prison for persons found guilty of "unnatural illicit sexual practices" with partners under that age. In contrast, the age of consent for heterosexual couples was 14.

Several Hungarian gay rights organizations banded together to challenge the constitutionality of the discriminatory age-of-consent law in 1993; additional challenges were also filed in 1996 and 1998. Finally, in September 2002, the Hungarian Constitutional Court repealed Paragraph 199 and the age of consent was equalized at 14 for both heterosexual and homosexual activity.

The 2003 Act on Equal Treatment and the Promotion of Equal Opportunities prohibits discrimination on the basis of both sexual orientation and sexual identity in the fields of education, employment, housing, health, and access to goods and services.

Limited legal recognition of unregistered domestic partnerships has been available to same-sex couples in Hungary since 1996, when "two people living in an emotional and economic community in the same household without being married" were granted certain inheritance, hospital visitation, and immigration rights.

Registered Partnerships

Registered partnership legislation for same-sex couples, granting many of the same financial benefits and civil rights as legally married heterosexuals, was finally approved in 2007 to go into effect beginning January 1, 2009.

In October 2007, the Hungarian Liberal Party, Alliance of Free Democrats (Szabad Demokraták Szövetsége, or SZDSZ), presented to the Parliament's Human Rights committee the draft of a bill allowing for same-sex marriage by defining marriage as "between two persons over the age of 18." The Hungarian Parliament rejected the bill without debate. Opponents of the bill cited a Constitutional Court ruling earlier that year that defined the institution of marriage as a "bond between a man and a woman."

Another bill sponsored by both the Alliance of Free Democrats and the Hungarian Socialist Party (Magyar Szocialista Párt, or MSZP) was then submitted to Parliament that introduced registered partnerships for same-sex, as well as unmarried opposite-sex, couples. The law would provide many of the same rights to registered partners as legally married couples.

Despite strong opposition from Christian Democratic and other right-wing political parties, on December 17, 2007, the Hungarian Parliament adopted the registered partnership bill. Beginning January 1, 2009, both gay and straight unmarried couples can register their partnerships and enjoy legal rights regarding next of kin status, taxation, health care, inheritance, social security, pensions, and shared possession of the home.

The law, however, does not allow the adoption of children by same-sex partners, access to fertility treatment, or the right to take a partner's surname.

GLBTQ Organizations

Budapest's first gay organization, the Homeros Society, was established in 1988 initially as a social group, but it quickly evolved into a political organization as well.

Early in the AIDS pandemic, Hungarian law required that all positive HIV test results be reported, which discouraged most people from being tested. In 1989, the Homeros Society obtained permission to run an anonymous testing clinic in Budapest, on an experimental basis at first. The clinic now gives more tests than any state facility.

Since 1991, the Homeros Society has been publishing Mások ("The Others"), a social, cultural, and human rights monthly. It is Hungary's leading glbtq periodical.

The Homeros Society has also established a telephone help-line, which has been particularly valuable for glbtq people living outside the capital city.

Established in 1995, the Háttér Support Society for Gays and Lesbians in Hungary has initiated several projects, including a counseling and information help-line, an HIV/AIDS prevention project (sponsored, in part, by the National AIDS Committee), and, since 2000, the free Gay Legal Aid Service.

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