August 1999 – Central European Review
A Queer Taboo
Andrew Stroehlein, Editor-in-Chief
Homosexuality is gradually becoming a phenomenon which the Western world accepts as a natural part of human existence. In Central and Eastern Europe, as this week’s articles on the subject make clear, this is hardly the case.
Granted, in the bad old days, it was worse; Communist regimes bludgeoned most things which did not conform to strict party doctrine, and though the situation did vary from country to country within the region, gays were clearly not part of the officially permitted ideal anywhere. Gay life and gay culture were forced underground – much like other aspects of unofficial life. But in the intervening decade since the collapse of Communism in Central and Eastern Europe, while other aspects of underground culture and politics have emerged loudly – even triumphantly – homosexuality is still very much a taboo, something hidden from public view and only joked about nervously if mentioned at all.
There is something odd about this. Everything else imaginable emerged boldly after 1989: political parties, heavy metal, environmentalism, radical right racism, long hair on men, conspicuous consumption, kareoke, snowboarding – you name it, it is now all out in the open. But try to find two guys holding hands in pubic in central Prague, and you will be looking for a very long time, indeed.
This is not easily explained.
In the case of the more devout countries in the region, Poland for example, traditional religious beliefs would seem to be exerting their influence, but such reasoning would not explain homophobia and intolerance in a country such as the Czech Republic, which is about as atheist a country as one can imagine in Europe. Czech society is hardly Victorian in its approach to sex, yet the subject of homosexuality and homosexuals’ rights are rarely discussed openly.
Even deeper than religious beliefs in the countries of this region is a strong cultural conservatism. These societies were not allowed to develop naturally, promote public debate and differentiate in the manner seen in Western Europe and America over the last 50 years. While the West was discussing difference over those decades, the Communist societies were generally subjected to one ideal, one model of appropriate living. Everything else was deviation and not acceptable.
Some say that these societies were kept in a social deep-freeze for four decades and are only now going through the cultural changes that the Western world went through in the 1950s. According to this view, which presumes a belief in "stages" of social and cultural evolution, the great social revolutions seen in the West in the 1960s are still waiting to be unleashed.
Actually, the situation is somewhat more serious than that.
Social change was not put on hold from the 1940s to the 1990s; socially conservative values were actively unified across each country and relentlessly re-enforced in each individual. The nuclear, 2.4 family was the only lifestyle that did not draw suspicion from the authorities, and thus, even if it were not so officially sponsored with both slogans and financial incentives as it was, the traditional family was the retreat of almost everyone who was frustrated with other aspects of his or her life.
Work was a joke at best, travel was limited, shopping was a drudgery and local clubs and organisations were untrustworthy, so the only outlet for individual expression and a sense of freedom was the traditional family unit. Only within that unit could a person feel safe, say what was on his or her mind and forge any kind of decent human relationships. Everything outside that unit – whether an individual or an institution – was suspicious and had to be treated with caution, and, although it may well be ten years since the end of those regimes, economic troubles have kept Central and East European families very tight.
Thus, it is hardly surprising that a phenomenon which can appear to reject that traditional unit of trust is viewed negatively in these societies.
In Central and Eastern Europe, homosexuality is not seen as the natural part of humanity that it is but as something threatening to the only basis for human relationships that people truly hold dear. Perhaps only after trust has spread out from the family and into society in general will tolerance of homosexuality become the norm in this region.
Pride speaks its name
by Adam Webb
Budapest’s mayor, Gábor Demszky, described the capital city as a beacon of "tolerance and fraternity", for all people of all persuasions and cultures, as Gay Pride returned to Hungary. The event, more properly called the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transsexual and Transgender (GLBTT) Cultural and Film Festival, was being staged in Budapest for the eighth time. It was launched from the Mûvész Cinema complex on Friday. Events like these, much more so than the Mardi Gras type parades in Sydney and London, demonstrate the fundamental grass roots issues facing GLBTT minorities in the community.
Whilst in Sydney it may be a case of "what do I wear?" in Budapest the question is more likely to be "Will I get beaten up of fired if I am recognized?" The most public demonstration of these issues, those of equal rights and freedom of expression, came from the Pride March through the streets of the city on Saturday afternoon, starting at Hôsök tere and ending across the Erzsébet híd (bridge) at Tabán.
Police estimate between 3,500 – 4,000 marchers swarmed in amongst the four floats down the main streets. Police were also on hand in full protection and riot gear in places to protect party goers from right wing-extremists who formed a marauding throng at the base of Erzsébet híd. This crowd, known colloquially as Neo-Nazis, had threatened violence at the event, perhaps the reason that, despite a predicted turnout of more than 8,000 people, only half that number demonstrated.
"I cannot remove my mask, as if I am recognized by my boss, I know I will be fired from my job. It happened last year to colleagues of mine," said one marcher who spoke only on the basis of confidentiality. "I will always march, but I am scared at the same time. I know that by marching, people will see that I exist, that I cannot be ignored, that I pay my taxes and therefore must be given the same rights as everyone else in this country," claimed another.
Currently in Hungary there is no specific legislation to protect homosexuals from sexual discrimination – if someone is fired for being gay, there is no opportunity for recourse. Likewise gay couples have few rights compared to heterosexual couples. That despite the fact that choosing and practicing a GLBTT lifestyle is legal in Hungary.
Saturday evening brought life to the Városliget (City Park) with the Rainbow II party at Millennium Szalon. Over 1000 guests partied until the early hours of the morning and packed-out Club Bohemian Alibi, the city’s leading GLBTT dance establishment, which offered a donation to support the festival this year. Sunday saw the final day of the festival become more of a film space, with international movies on acceptance and celebration playing to rapturous applause.
A series of talks were also given by a number of local and visiting guests, discussing issues relevant to a modern society as it strives towards facing the human rights issues of EU ascension and beyond. The festival, part of the Szivárvány Misszió Alapítvány (Rainbow Mission Foundation) is a not for profit organization and survives through sponsorship and operational grants.
2003 (?) – From: Media-Diversity.org
How Gay Friendly is the Hungarian Media?
by Laszla Laner
For a long time, the media in Hungary considered homosexuality non-existent, placing it out of sight and not covering it at all. The first changes were heralded by the official formation of the first association for gays two years before the political changes of 1989. The existence of this minority rights watch group held such political significance that almost all of the major newspapers and the national radio and television covered it extensively and greeted it with enthusiasm.
Following the collapse of communism, hundreds of new publications flooding the market in 1990, all of them eager to attract the attention of the readers. All unusual subjects that related to exciting or hitherto uncovered areas sold well. Because homosexuality was one of the "blank spots", papers – especially tabloids – threw themselves at the topic.
Number of wild articles that had nothing to do with reality got published. An army officer gave an interview to Magyar Nemzet, stating that "homosexuality is like tuberculosis – it infects big crowds." Another daily, Mai Nap, published a two-page interview with an allegedly homosexual person who threw threats at Hungarian society, announcing that he would seduce as many boys (four or five per day) as he could. One tabloid started a competition for readers to see who could produce the longest list of homosexual public personalities.
Extreme rightist papers still carry on the witch-hunt. They display an eager sensitivity in reacting to reports about the life, organizations, and legal acceptance of gay subculture. These papers often publish outraged comments about how too many gay plays are performed in theaters, endangering the morals of our youth; about the celebration Allen Ginsberg enjoyed during his visit to Hungary even though, according to their, logic he is a mere fag; or about the gay movement’s impertinent choice of the rainbow as its symbol, the rainbow being a lovely natural phenomenon.
The most significant parts of the media, i.e. public television and radio, however, are characterized by a reserved, liberal attitude and the avoidance of sensationalism. Media that have any self-respect do not go off on gays, just as it is unacceptable to discuss ethnic or religious groups in a hostile tone.
The media in Hungary considers homosexuals more or less as a minority group and covers them along these lines, and all major events concerning the world of gays enjoy wide publicity. The whole country could monitor the parliamentary debate on the acceptance of the status of gay couples living together (gay couples now have the same rights as unmarried straight couples) or the denial of legal registration for the gay organization Szivarvany (Rainbow). The press also covered the gay film festival as extensively as any other cultural event.
Even though there is no basis for stating that mainstream media do anti-gay campaigning, insecurity can still be detected in the order of values set up in connection with homosexuality. At one point, the liberal daily Magyar Hirlap published an article that expressed dislike over gay student organizations. The weekly Magyar Narancs, although always liberal and strongly supportive of minorities, published an article that, while discussing paedophilia, hinted at the dangers of the over-emancipation of homosexuals. The conservative daily Magyar Nemzet published a tract on militant minorities that rule over the silent majority.
It is necessary to mention that gays have their own publication. The monthly magazine Masok (Others) has been published and distributed nation-wide for six years by the gay human rights organization Lambada Budapest Meleg Barati Tarsasag (Lambada Budapest Gay Association). Also, the public radio system is objective and unbiased. It not only covers gay issues but also runs a separate program dedicated to gays that is done by an openly homosexual reporter. The more than 60-minute long program is called "Onazonos" (Self identical), and it is on the air once a month in late-night spot. Tilos Radio is the only private station that produces its own gay program every other week; this show can be heard in and near Budapest.
National television has tried to launch shows but failed basically because of the resistance of gays. Very few homosexual people are not afraid to present their sexual orientation in front of the camera to the national public. On the other hand, interviewees with their faces covered and their voices distorted make an unfortunate impression, calling into mind an image of the criminal instead of a flagship personality of an acceptable human behavior. The tendencies for introversion, along with the shyness of gay people, reflect the fear and anxiety that determines modes of behavior for Hungarian homosexual people. Social tolerance is far behind the tolerance exhibited by the media, and coming out could imply serious danger.
January 03, 2005 – Gay.com
International News #558
Media targets Hungarian bathhouse
by Rex Wockner
Hungarian TV2’s Aktiv program broadcast an exposé Dec. 13 showing that the 449-year-old Királyfürdö Turkish baths is a hotbed of homosexual shenanigans. Armed with a hidden camera, journalist Zoltán Garabuczi witnessed a gay orgy and said that he "was constantly approached by bathers with little or nothing to hide their modesty," as The Budapest Sun put it.
Garabuczi reported that men openly embraced, kissed and had sex in the historic, state-owned spa’s public pools. The facility, which is also a popular tourist attraction, is the only surviving Ottoman-era Turkish bath in Budapest.
March 4, 2005 – Gay.com U.K.
Hungary Moves to Recognize Gay Couples
by Ben Townley
Hungary could have a civil partnership system for lesbian and gay couples in place by 2007, according to press reports, with the government unveiling plans that will give same-sex couples legal recognition for the first time.
The registry system would be similar to the U.K.’s Civil Partnerships scheme, which is due to take effect in December. However, following a court’s earlier decision that access to marriage should be reserved for heterosexual couples, certain rights and
responsibilities will be excluded from the proposals.
20 April 2005 – Transitions OnLine
A Gay Old Time-The right sharpens its spears as the governing liberal party in Hungary ups the ante on sexual morality
by Judit Szakacs
Budapest – Homosexuality is becoming the cause celebre of the political season in Hungary. Conservatives are stumping for the sanctity of heterosexual marriage while a liberal party has launched a promotional drive involving, among other issues, gay rights. On top of this comes a new anti-discrimination agency and a speech accusing the liberals of cozying up to gays. And now a Hungarian politician, for the first time ever, has publicly come out of the closet.
“It’s more logical for me to say that I’m homosexual than to wait for others to say it. And this is only right,” Klara Ungar told viewers of a television program about discrimination, Strucc (Ostrich). “My life has changed for the better … And this probably shows."
Ungar, one of the founders of originally liberal Fidesz-Hungarian Civic Party, is an experienced politician. She entered parliament in 1990, but following Fidesz’s conservative turn quit the party in 1993 and joined the liberal Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ), representing the party for another parliamentary mandate, until 1998. Although not presently a legislator, she is a member of the governing board of the SZDSZ, which is currently a junior member of the governing coalition.
Ungar’s March coming-out happened in the midst of a political uproar set off by Christian Democrat leader and Fidesz parliamentarian Zsolt Semjen, who told a Christian Democrat congress, “If you want your teenage son to have his first sexual experience with a bearded older man, you should vote for SZDSZ.” Semjen, who is vice-chairman of the parliament’s human rights committee, also tied the liberal party to “the death culture of euthanasia and abortion,” “extreme sects,” and the use of marijuana in schools. According to him, the Free Democrats, currently scoring only about 5 percent support in opinion polls, will turn to gays and drug addicts to "scrape up” the votes needed to stay in parliament after next year’s general election.
Semjen later insisted he was merely trying to fulfill his “constitutional duty” to protect children. He opposed SZDSZ’s policies because the party aims to legalize homosexual marriage, which would in turn enable homosexual couples to adopt children, he said on 13 March.
Although his fellow party members remained conspicuously silent, Semjen apparently enjoys the general support of the conservatives. Speaking on a live television morning show, Fidesz leader and former prime minister Viktor Orban said, “those were tough words that Zsolt Semjen said, we could even call them fighting words, but otherwise I find nothing wrong with their content. It is the SZDSZ campaign that is wrong.” Repeating Semjen’s allegations, he said the liberal party had adopted gay causes “for self-interested political reasons,” and in what appeared either an intentional or unintentional slip of the tongue, added, “it is not right for a party to pin homosexuals on the flagpole” (the original Hungarian idiom is “to pin something on the flag," meaning to take up an issue).
Conservatives are concerned that the flag of gay rights and other "liberal" causes is flying higher not just because of the SZDSZ, but also an anti-discrimination law. Although the law took effect in January 2004, the authority designed to monitor compliance only began work on 1 February this year. The legislation prohibits discrimination against a wide range of groups by state and public institutions and all employers (but not the police or the courts). The new Equal Treatment Authority says it has received about 100 complaints of alleged discrimination since it opened its doors, but so far only one alleging discrimination on the basis of sexual preference – from a gay couple who say they were treated unfairly in an official procedure. Since the complaint is under investigation, the authority has not released further details.
A media campaign is attracting far more attention than the Equal Treatment Authority so far. Two months ago provocative street posters and television spots began appearing: “It’s better for Roma children if they are placed in segregated classes.” “Light drugs should be legalized.” “Capital punishment should be reinstated for the most serious crimes.”
The posters and ads were the work of the Free Democrats. People who sent their opinions of the statements to a special website received a sampling of other people’s opinions as well as the party’s own view. As the right-wing daily Magyar Nemzet was eager to point out, seven of the 44 statements touched on rights for sexual minorities, which in the paper’s view signaled that the party cared more about gays than about schoolchildren (three statements), women (two), or farmers (none). Judging from the SZDSZ’s e-mail response to those who responded, the party supports same-sex marriage, adoption for same-sex couples, and giving same-sex couples access to the same inheritance and credit rules that apply to heterosexual couples.
Fidesz blasted the campaign as "outrageous." “Offensive to the church and family-loving people,” said the party’s Marta Matrai, chairwoman of the parliamentary social and family affairs committee. The SZDSZ wanted to divert attention from serious issues such as unemployment, she said. Miklos Csapody, a deputy for the other conservative opposition party, the Hungarian Democratic Forum, told Magyar Nemzet that the SZDSZ had always been anti-Christian. Furthermore, “as far as the questions relating to sexual orientation are concerned, people are bored by this equal opportunity stuff. … Deviance is not the norm. Homosexuality is not the norm. And even liberal experts concede that children brought up by two men or two women will become deviant.”
The Socialists, the SZDSZ’s senior partner in the government, have rather typically not taken a stand in this squabble.
Conforming To Change
While some on the right were outraged by the Free Democrats’ provocative media campaign, many intellectuals were shocked by Christian Democrat Semjen’s "bearded man" speech. More than 250 public figures, including philosophers Agnes Heller and Miklos Tamas Gaspar, psychologist Tamas Vekerdy, philosopher of religion Gyorgy Gabor, theologian Tamas Majsai and historian Csaba Fazekas, demanded Semjen’s resignation from his committee post in an open letter. What aroused their ire was not only what they saw as Semjen’s homophobia, but also what they took as an anti-Semitic jibe: linking the wearing of beards with homosexuality.
Semjen rejected the allegations of anti-Semitism as “ridiculous." Nevertheless, this interpretation was certainly not lost on one public figure with a taste for the outrageous. Minor celebrity Terry Black, best known for dressing in women’s clothing, appeared on one of the main television channels’ morning shows sporting a yarmulke and demanding Semjen’s resignation. What’s more, he warned, if Semjen did not quit by 18 March, he would publish a list of gays in parliament – a threat he has failed to follow through on.
The current uproar aside, public attitudes toward homosexuality have changed dramatically, political scientist Ferenc Hammer says. Citing the findings of researcher Laszlo Toth, he says that Hungarians are significantly more tolerant than they used to be, but is more inclined to attribute this to changing patterns of conformity than to a true change of heart.
"The majority of people have no clue about what homosexuality is, so they don’t think anything about it. So they say, let’s just follow what others think. During the socialist period and in the years after it was okay to be anti-gay; now it’s much less the case," Hammer says. "The SZDSZ is a small, invisible party, stuck between the two big parties [the Socialists and Fidesz]. What they did was to pick up hard-core liberal issues, such as euthanasia and drugs, and using them to positioning themselves. I can’t tell whether taking a clear liberal stand on homosexuality is good strategically or not."
The changing approach to homosexuality seen in Hungarian law, it could be argued, backs up Hammer’s suggestion about conformity. Although homosexuality was decriminalized in 1961, Hungary lagged behind nearly every other European state in equalizing the age of consent for homosexuals and heterosexuals, not doing so until 2002. (In 1998 the European Parliament called on Hungary and six other countries to repeal laws that discriminated against homosexuals, and warned that no country with such discriminative legislation would be accepted into the European Union.) In 1996, following a ruling by the Constitutional Court, the law was changed to recognize homosexual common-law partnerships, but at the same time the court upheld that marriage is valid only between a man and a woman. Although they still cannot marry, people in long-term gay partnerships are now eligible for survivor’s pensions and, since this February, for state-subsidized home loans just as heterosexual couples.
More Struggles To Come
It appears that the Christian Democrats and the Free Democrats – and to a certain degree Fidesz and the Socialists – are gearing up for a battle pitting traditional values against personal liberties.
The Christian Democrat youth organization is circulating a "family protection charter" demanding a constitutional ban on same-sex marriages, while some Free Democrats were quick to reaffirm their stance on sexual rights. “The government is determined to ensure equal rights for homosexuals," said Miklos Hanko-Farago, a Free Democrat and the state secretary of the Justice Ministry, said in February. To secure those rights, the ministry is revising the civil code to allow registered partnerships for same-sex couples. It was not about giving gays special rights but ensuring non-discriminatory treatment is such areas as inheritance, he said.
Although the new code, which is still at least two years from completion, apparently falls short of legalizing gay marriage, the party’s next manifesto could well include language in favor of same-sex marriages, SZDZS parliamentarian Peter Gusztos told the Budapest Sun.
Whether these political skirmishes reflect changing attitudes among voters, and whether one citizen’s conformity is another’s deviance, are other questions. “In a normal country, it’s nobody’s business whom you go to bed with," Klara Ungar said by way of explaining her decision to come out.
"But in many ways, this is not a normal country yet."Note: In January 2004 TOL’s Judit Szakacs reported on a theology student who had been expelled from the Hungarian Reformed Church’s Karoli Gaspar University as unfit for church service after he told a school counselor of his anguished doubts over his sexuality. The student, Gabor C., took the school to court, although the anti-discrimination law that came into effect that same month might not have protected him in any case, as it exempts religious activities from its purview.
Last December an appeals court upheld the school’s decision. On 20 January 2005, though, Gabor C., appeared to have won his case when a court ruled that the university had not followed proper procedure when it expelled him. A sexual minority organization called the Hatter Support Society is also suing the university on the grounds that its policies are not just an expression of its religious views but have consequences for a certain group of people, and that as a recipient of state support its policies are not simply internal church affairs. The suit is now before the Supreme Court.Judit Szakacs is a TOL correspondent based in Budapest.
Judit Szakacs is a TOL correspondent based in Budapest
A Same-Sex Marriage of Convenience
Russian gay rights advocates try to get married but fail to attract much notice.
by Sergei Borisov
24 January 2005
Gay-bashing in the classroom? In an election year, the fraught Polish left will have to tread very delicately around the question
by Wojciech Kosc
17 January 2005
Central Europe Review: Legalizing Sex
Romanians Ciprian Cucu and Marian Mutascu were arrested in January 1993. The charge: homosexuality.
by Catherine Lovatt
18 September 2000
October 11, 2006 – Official Budapest Tourist Office
Gay and Lesbian Budapest
Budapest – Budapest has added a welcoming link to its city tourism Web site aimed specifically at gays and lesbians. The site publicizes a gay-friendly list of cafes, bars, restaurants, saunas and accommodations facilities and includes a help-line telephone number and links to online gay forums in Hungary , MTI news agency reported Wednesday.
Budapest has had a significant gay and lesbian population all the time. Discrimination started to decrease after 1990. A Hungarian word ”meleg” was born for homosexuality without abusive, discriminating content. (It’s original meaning is „warm”) This term, used in this context, did not exist in the colloquial speech prior to 1990. ?Gay and lesbian Budapest is still preserving its separatism even today. Their annual celebration is the LMBT Festival (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual Festival) which is traditionally held in early July. The Budapest Pride is the biggest and oldest festival of its type in central Europe. The following list is changing relatively quickly. It’s is advisable to check the addresses on well maintained Homepages (E.g.: www.navegre.hu, www.budapest.gayguide.net )
Action 5th District, 42., Magyar Street, cruising bar for men only, www.action.gay.hu
Cafe Smile 7th District, 17., Nagydiófa Street.
CoXx 7th District, 38., Dohány Street 38. cruising bar for men only with special parties. www.coxx.hu
Habroló Bisztró 5th District, 1/b. Szép Street . Nice and tiny place. www.habrolo.hu
Mylord Café 5th District, 3-4. Belgrád Quay. A very pleasant place at the bank of the Danube. More gay visitors in the evening.
Le Café M 5th District, Nagysándor József Street. Medium size, friendly place with Internet facility, which is suitable for providing information for foreigners. www.mysterybar.hu
Pure, the biggest gay party in Budapest. Check their site for dates and location. www.pure.i-shop.hu
Candy, gay party in a small Buda club, check their site for dates and location. www.candybudapest.com
Bohemian Alibi 9th District, 45-47., Ülli Road, mixed disco with drag shows. www.clubbohemian.hu
Capella Café 5th District, 23. Belgrád Quay. Disco with two dancefloors. Not gay, but with drag shows. www.capellacafe.hu
Living Room 5th District, 17., Kossuth Lajos Street. Lesbian party on the last Saturday of the month. Jailhouse 9th District, 22. Tzoltó Street. Lesbian disco on the last Saturday of the month from 10.00 p.m. Lesbian and hetero party on the first Friday of the month.
Gay-Friendly Restaurnats And Cafes
Eklektika 7th District, 30. Nagymez Street. The unofficial lesbian café of Budapest, also popular with gay men. Amstel River Café 5th District, 6. Párisi Street. Holland-style café and restaurant in Dutch ownership.
Club 93 Pizzeria 8th District, 2. Vas Street. One of the oldest “gay” restaurant with plenty of pizza and pasta.
Café Voyage, 7 th district, 39. Erzsébet circle street, restaurant and café on the big circle street
Connection Guesthouse 7th District, 41., Király Street. , www.connectionguesthouse.com
Lindenmann Apartmentshouse 7th District, 48., Kertész Street. www.gaybeach.hu
Gayguide.net , room rentals, www.gayguide.net
KM Saga residence , www.km-saga.hu
Differently appartments , www.budapest-gay.com
Navégre (At last)— Free of charge gay monthly with the latest information. Available in gay bars,clubs and saunas. It has an English language section, gayguide and calendar of events. www.navegre.hu
Gay helpline (Hatter) Phone: 06-1- 329-3380 from 6.00 to 11.00 p.m everyday.
Toucan Tourist 13th District, 15/b., Radnóti Miklós Street. Gay travel agency, www.toucantourist.hu .
Astoria Fitness Center 5th District, 4., Károly Boulevard. Gay friendly fitness. www.astoriafitness.hu
Sex shop 7th District, 11. Dob Street.
Connection Sexshop 8th District, 3., Berzsenyi Dániel Street. www.connectionbt.hu
Intim Center 5th District, 14. KárolyBoulevard. www.szexplaza.hu Erotik Center 13th District, 1. Hegeds Gyula Street. www.erotikcenter.hu
L’amour Gay Movie& Szexshop 6th District, 72., Király Street. www.szex-shop.hu
www.labrisz.hu (for Lesbians)
www.femfatal.hu (for Lesbians)
www.otkenyer.hu : Christian gays (In Hungarian: “five pieces of bread”)
www.gaydanube.com (Gay Accommodations in Europe) ?www.hatter.hu
Gay Times stay in Budapest assisted by BudapestLets.com
In a recent editorial feature on European destination breaks, Gay times magazine highlighted Budapest as a great city destination for Gay travellers, holiday makers and city breakers. The times editorial featured a number of Budapest destinations and yet specifically recommended the apartment accommodation offered by www.budapestlets.com who arranged accommodation for visiting members of the editorial team who were featuring Budapest for a pending article on the city.
Gay times featured Budapest because of the thriving gay scene in the city, the cultural heritage and the vibrant night life. A great feature of the city for the gay market is the numerous gay spas that offer a relaxing alternative to the hedonistic gay city scene. Budapestlets.com (http://budapestlets.com/), were highlighted because of the quality and affordability of the accommodation on offer, the excellent service they provided, easy to use and knowledgeable local staff and excellent web site that offers local information and an easy to use on line booking facility.
www.budapestlets.com, offers a number of superbly appointed apartments in central pest locations. All apartments are from the Hapsburg and later art deco period and have been fully renovated and refurbished to enrich the guest experience of this most vibrant and exciting city. Guests enjoy the space and freedom that serviced apartments afford with fully fitted bedrooms, private lounges, kitchens and bedrooms all modernised to exacting standards.
The aim is to offer clients a real taste of Budapest life at a fraction of the cost of hotel prices. Budapestlets offer the apartments on a short or long term rental basis for holiday makers, city breakers, university students and corporate looking for longer contract periods. All are fully serviced with guests able to savour apartment living in the heart of the city and on the door step of the bustling café bars and restaurants which line the tree shaded squares, avenues and courtyards. All essentials are allocated, providing guests with peace of mind and the freedom to explore the city’s long history and many charms.
Bookings can be made via telephone and e mail, but very easily through an on line booking system. There is a minimum stay period of only 2 nights and sharing the accommodation can prove to be the most effective way to share the costs.
July 6, 2007 – EDGEBoston
Hungarian Official Announces He’s Gay
by Kilian Melloy, EDGE Boston Contributor
Hungarian Human Resources Secretary of State Gábor Szetey took his nation–if not the world–by surprise yesterday when, as part of his remarks at the start of this year’s annual gay and lesbian film and cultural festival, he announced that he is gay.
"I am gay. And I am happy. And I am proud to be here with you tonight," Szetey said. The Budapest Sun published a teaser to a promised feature article slated for publication July 12. But other news sources, including eux.tv, gave the story more extensive coverage right away. Eux.tv called reaction to Szetey’s revelation "muted," and pointed out that the minister’s announcement coincided the same day the Alliance of Free Democrats said that it would pursue marriage equality for gay and lesbian Hungarians.
"I am Gabor Szetey. I am European, and Hungarian. I believe in God, love, freedom, and equality," Szetey said in his speech. Szetey continued, "I am the Human Resources Secretary of State of the Government of the Hungarian Republic. Economist, HR director. Partner, friend, sometimes rival. And gay." Szetey, whom news sources call a "senior government figure," is the first high-ranking Hungarian official to make a public admission of homosexuality, though eux.tv said that a more minor politician, Klara Ungar, had acknowledged being gay prior to Szetey’s announcement.
Parliamentary caucus leader Tibor Navracsics, of the more rightward party Fidesz, said that his party’s position is that Szetey’s sexual orientation is a private issue. Navracsics said that Fidesz did not yet have a position on the issue of same-sex unions, though the party’s leader, Viktor Orban, had previously voiced opposition to it. In a briefing, the Alliance of Free Democrats stated that, "The future of a free, democratic, European state is only secure if it is capable of guaranteeing the right to an inviolable private life and individual happiness for every citizen," including marriage equality.
A Hungarian Socialist Party MP, Timea Szabone Meller, voiced support from her party for the Alliance of Free Democrats’ proposal. Jobbik, a right-wing party, announced plans for a counter-demonstration to the gay and lesbian film and cultural festival, which some have called Hungary’s Gay Pride event; right wing organization Movement for a Free Hungary said that the event offended public morality.
Kilian Melloy reviews media, conducts interviews, and writes commentary for EDGEBoston, where he also serves as Assistant Arts Editor.
July 7, 2007 – International Herald Tribune
Right-wing protesters in Hungary throw eggs, smoke bombs at gay rights marchers
The Associated Press
Budapest, Hungary: Several hundred skinheads and right-wing activists threw rotten eggs and smoke bombs at people participating in a gay rights parade in Hungary’s capital Saturday. Police detained several of the protesters and tried to disperse the rest, some of whom threw beer bottles at police. No injuries were reported. Members of the Movement For A Better Hungary and the Hungarian National Front said they were angry about two recent developments.
On Thursday, Gabor Szetey, a state secretary in the prime minister’s office, announced he was gay while the smaller party in the Socialist-led ruling coalition said it would seek to legalize gay marriages. Some 2,000 people participated in Saturday’s march, which took place over several kilometers (miles), from Heroes’ Square to the foot of one of the bridges over the Danube River.
July 11, 2007 – direland.typepad.com
Fasciasts Attack Budapest Gay Pride
The following was written for Gay City News — New York’s largest lesbian and gay weekly — which will publish it tomorrow: The 10th annual Budapest Gay Pride March this past Saturday, July 7, was violently attacked by hundreds of counter-demonstrators armed with Molotov cocktails, bottles, eggs, and nylon-stocking coshes filled with sand. Some 2,000 LGBT participants marched with several colorful floats from statue-filled Heroes’ Square to a dance club at the foot of one of the bridges crossing the Danube, where an after-party had been planned, and along more than a mile of that route they were pelted by the anti-gay gangs. A number of Pride marchers were injured, several required hospitalization, and a truck caught fire from one of the Molotov cocktails. The anti-gay demonstrators, who followed the Pride March in three trucks and on foot, shouted epithets like, "Faggots into the Danube, followed by the Jews," "Soap Factory," and "Filthy Faggots."
The homophobic counter-demonstration was organized by two fascist political formations, the Movement for a Democratic Hungary (Jobbik Magyarországért Mozgalom, commonly referred to as "Jobbik") and the neo-Nazi Hungarian National Front. Jobbik, in alliance with another ultra-right political party, received 2.2 percent of the vote in last year’s parliamentary elections. When the Pride March arrived at the Buddha Beach discotheque for the after-party, they found the club blockaded for several hours by the fascist counter-demonstrators and the club’s doors locked on the orders of the police. The marchers, who could not enter the club, were thus crowded together with the anti-gay contingent in the street outside it, where they were again attacked. The anti-gays outside the club eventually dispersed, but marauding gangs of thugs, some of them skinheads wearing swastika arm-bands, continued to roam the area near the discotheque, beating up Pride marchers as they left. At least a dozen people were reported injured in these beatings, including a German man who was badly bashed over the head with a beer bottle and taken to the hospital.
In the wake of the violence, Gabor Demszky, Budapest’s mayor since 1990, said that he and his political party, the Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ), unambiguously condemned the assaults on the Pride March, calling the anti-gay attackers "intolerant, primitive, and cowardly." The SZDSZ, which is the junior partner in Hungary’s governing coalition, had previously sent a message of support to the Pride event. Mayor Demszky added, "On these occasions, I consider myself Jewish, Roma, and gay." The Roma ethnic minority, frequently called Gypsies, have suffered widespread racial discrimination in Hungary and are frequently targeted by the two anti-Semitic parties that organized the anti-gay counter-demonstration. The police, who were reported to have arrested eight people during the day’s events, were accused of inexcusable negligence and indifference to the anti-gay violence in a statement released by three non-governmental organizations — Patent (People Against Patriarchy, which works on the issues of violence against women and equality for sexual minorities); NANE (a 12-year-old women’s rights association); and Gemini (a social dance club for LGBTers).
"The violent counter-demonstrators were throwing bottles at the participants of the Pride March from arm’s length, threatening their life," the statement from the three associations said. "While several participants were injured from bottles and splinters, the police were present only sporadically. Many colleagues from our organizations witnessed and documented the police simply watching the counter-demonstrators throw eggs and bottles without acting. Through this, the police officers perpetrated the crime of ‘endangering through professional negligence.’" The associations went on to add, "The police failed to ensure the safety of the participants of the events after the March. The Pride March ended at the club Buddha Beach, which the police held closed for hours because of the threatening presence of the extremist group. After lifting the closure, the police was present for a few more hours but failed to patrol in the area. That is why it was possible for gangs of demonstrators to beat up more than 10 persons in nearby parks and streets by 1 a.m. The police should have demonstrated with reinforced and highly visible forces that they would not tolerate further attacks against participants of the LGBT event."
In a separate statement, a coalition of seven gay groups denounced a "cover-up" of the police negligence by Hungary’s Minister for Public Order — who had said he could find no fault in the police conduct — and demanded an official investigation of "why the police did not protect the marchers and why calls for help in the course of the night were refused." The Pride March was part of a four-day LGBT Film and Cultural Festival, which was opened with a coming-out speech by a senior government official. State Secretary for Personnel Gábor Szetey, a member of the MSZP — Hungary’s Socialist Party, which leads the coalition government — became the first high-ranking government official to speak out as openly gay when said in his speech to the Festival, "My name is Gábor Szetey. I am the personnel state secretary of the Government of the Republic of Hungary. I believe in God, love, freedom, and equality. I am Hungarian and European. I am an economist and a personnel leader. I am a partner, a friend, sometimes an opponent. And I am gay."
The 38-year-old Szetey said it took him 28 years to accept his own identity, which he could never talk about with his now-deceased mother, according to the Hungarian news agency MTI. He added that he hoped his public coming out would make it easier for other Hungarians to do the same. The opening of the LGBT Festival also was attended by Klára Dobrev, the prime minister’s wife; Health Minister Ágnes Horváth; Economy Minster János Kóka; Environment Minister Gábor Fodor; government spokesman Dávid Daróczi; and the leader of the SZDSZ parliamentary group, Mátyás Eörsi. The SZDSZ announced last week that it would sponsor a bill to provide equality of marriage rights to same-sex couples; and its dominant ruling coalition partner, the Socialists, indicated willingness to give same-sex couples some form of equal rights. But parties opposed to any form of legalizing gay unions have a significant edge in public opinion polls for the next parliamentary elections, according to an IPSOS poll released this week. In that poll, the conservative FIDESZ (Citizens Party) — led by homophobic former Prime Minister Viktor Orban — received 58 percent, while the Socialist MSZP got just 29 percent, and its very pro-gay ally SZDSZ only four percent.
7th July 2007 – PinkNews
Hungarian PM calls Pride attacks "outrageous"
by Tony Grew
The Prime Minister of Hungary, Ferenc Gyurcsány, has said he utterly condemns people who pelted a gay Pride in Budapest with eggs and attacked revellers. On Saturday 10th July skinheads and fascists massed along the 7km (4.3 mile) route of the march for gay rights. They threw eggs and bottles filled with sand at the marchers. Later that evening almost a dozen gay people were set upon and beaten. Pride organisers accused the police of not doing enough to protect them.
Mr Gyurcsány told TV2 that he regarded the incidents as "brutal, unacceptable, and outrageous." He said that most Hungarians were in favour of gay rights. "There are gay people among us, who live the same way as we do and who also want to love freely," he said. The country joined the European Union in 2004. New laws to legalise same-sex marriage are at the draft stage. The Prime Minister said he would support the legislation and added that the whole country should join in the debate over gay rights.
During the Pride celebrations earlier this month, socialist politician Gábor Szetey became the first elected political official in Hungary to come out. He is the second Hungarian politician to come out publicly after Klára Ungár, a member of the liberal party SZDSZ. Mr Szetey works as a state secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office.
July 25 2007 – Reuters
Senior politician comes out of the closet
by Krisztina Than
"I am Gabor Szetey. A faithful Hungarian-European. citizen, public official, member of the government. And gay." Of all the arenas in which a senior government politician could come out, Szetey’s choice – two days before a Gay Pride march earlier this month in post-communist eastern Europe – was one of the most defiant. Hungary’s Secretary of State for Human Resources risked hostility because he wanted to highlight persistent intolerance, not just of gay people, but also of other minorities, in eastern Europe. After decades under communist rule when homosexuality was banned or simply out of sight, most east Europeans still find it hard to accept. The lack of tolerance has been coupled with a surge in nationalism in some parts of the region.
"I think my coming out took so long partly because I was 22 in 1990," Szetey told Reuters. He blamed the communist regime – which collapsed in 1989 in Hungary – for the fact many still keep their homosexuality secret. "Until I turned 22, I thought I was an alien." Only the Czech Republic and Slovenia have legalised registered same-sex partnerships, none of the former communist states allow same-sex marriages, and some have no laws protecting sexual minorities from discrimination. "This is a very serious issue for this region," said Szetey, who lived in New York and Buenos Aires before coming home and taking the government post last year. "Dealing with all minorities, be it ethnic minorities … or the whole Jewish issue, or the gay issue."
Two days after his speech, participants of the annual Budapest Gay Pride parade were pelted with eggs and only a heavy police presence prevented violence as about 200 mostly far-right demonstrators protested against it. "I was not afraid because the police were there, lots of police, but when they disappeared and three steps from me these people shouted ‘dirty faggot’, well that was scary," said Andras Varkonyi, 28, a psychology graduate.
"There is still quite a serious lack of understanding not only in the political elite but also in general society," said Juris Lavrikovs, communications officer of the European section of the International Lesbian and Gay Association. Although homosexuality is now legal in neighbouring Romania, which joined the EU this year, many people accept the powerful Orthodox church’s view of homosexuality as a sin and a disease. Thousands were jailed in Romania during the rule of communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu after a 1968 ban. In June police detained dozens of protesters as hundreds tried to break up a gay rights march in Bucharest. In strongly Roman Catholic Croatia, only few homosexuals have come out and most still lead a double life.
Poland has come under fire from EU lawmakers, who singled it out in a resolution condemning homophobia in the 27-nation bloc. The nationalist League of Polish Families party, a junior coalition partner in the cabinet, has proposed a law to sack teachers who promote a "homosexual lifestyle" and wants a law banning "homosexual propaganda" in schools. When asked how he would react if someone in the government came out as gay Roman Giertych, Poland’s deputy prime minister, leader of the party and minister of education told Reuters: "I would react with joy, on the condition that the person was not in my party."
Long way to go
Hungary still has far to go in giving gay relationships equal rights: a Eurobarometer survey showed last year that while 52 percent of Czechs agreed that same-sex marriages should be allowed in Europe, in Hungary this number was only 18 percent. In a further protest at discrimination, two Hungarian lesbian women on July 14 held an unofficial marriage ceremony by the Danube river in Budapest. The junior Hungarian coalition party, the liberal Free Democrats, has proposed a bill to allow same-sex marriages which may lead to a compromise by allowing registered same-sex partnerships, as in the Czech Republic.
"I really opened up in New York where Gay Pride meant that several hundreds of thousands of people marched: it was a carnival, a huge party where families joined with their kids to have fun and educate their kids about tolerance," Szetey said. "I will be the happiest if I don’t have to speak about this issue any more. If I have to, I will."
August 29, 2007 – International Herald Tribune
Hungary: Radio station fires 2 for depicting gay official with Nazi pink triangle on Web site
Budapest, Hungary (AP) – A Hungarian radio station on Wednesday fired two staff members after a gay government official was depicted on its Web site standing outside the Auschwitz concentration camp wearing a pink triangle, the symbol used by the Nazis to label homosexual men. The photo montage showing State Secretary Gabor Szetey with a pink triangle on his suit in front of Auschwitz’s main gate appeared Wednesday morning on the Web site of Lanchid Radio. It was later removed. Szetey recently announced he was gay, the first government member to come out in Hungary. "I have one message for those who did this and those who agree with it — I cannot be intimidated," Szetey said Wednesday after a government Cabinet meeting.
Lanchid Radio said it had fired two of its editors for the "impermissible and offensive" picture. "The owners and managers of Lanchid Radio condemn what happened and apologize to State Secretary Gabor Szetey and to everyone who was offended by the picture in question," the radio station said in a statement. Socialist Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany and other ministers also condemned the photograph and what they described as a new threat in Hungary from neo-fascist movements. "This is a scoundrel act because somebody doesn’t understand that Auschwitz is one of greatest tragedies of Europe and the history of humanity," the prime minister told reporters. "Fascists are gathering. They aren’t knocking on doors but are here among us."
On Saturday, 56 members of a new, nationalist group called the "Magyar Garda" (Hungarian Guard) were sworn in during a ceremony in Buda Castle, just outside the offices of President Laszlo Solyom. The inductees wore black pants and white shirts, their black caps and vests emblazoned with a coat of arms with the colors of the Arpad Stripes. The striped, red-and-white symbol is a centuries-old Hungarian banner, a close version of which was used by the Arrow Cross, a pro-Nazi party that briefly ran Hungary near the end of World War II. Gyurcsany called on Solyom, the center-right opposition parties and Hungary’s Christian churches to unequivocally condemn the Magyar Garda.
Hungarian and international Jewish groups have asked Gyurcsany to ban the Magyar Garda, saying its uniform is reminiscent of those use by the Fascists in the 1940s.
2007 November 5 – nol.hu
Hatalmában áll tévedni
Népszabadság • Braun Róbert (English translation follows article)
Pár hete a Bihari Mihály vezette Alkotmánybíróság – egy népszavazási kezdeményezés kapcsán – megerosítette a Sólyom László vezette Alkotmánybíróság 1995-ben kelt határozatát az azonos nemuek házasságának alkotmányos tilalmáról. Minthogy hasonló kezdeményezés a parlament elott is szerepel és vélhetoen az eredeti ítélet a parlamenti vitában is elutasító érvként szerepel majd, érdemes megvizsgálni a Sólyom-féle határozatot. Jelen írás állítása, hogy az ítélet alkotmányjogilag – szuk és tág értelemben egyaránt – megalapozatlan, így a melegek házasságáról szóló vitában indokolatlan végso elutasító érvként hivatkozni rá.
A Sólyom-bíróság több határozatában is túlnyúlt a szuk értelemben vett alkotmányos magyarázatokon, és a rendszerváltás jogi kereteinek kialakítása során az Alkotmánybíróság ítélkezési gyakorlatának igazolására a "láthatatlan alkotmány" metaforáját alkalmazta. Sólyom László álláspontja szerint – melyet a halálbüntetés tilalmát kimondó alkotmánybírósági ítélet indokolásához fuzött – "az Alkotmánybíróság (…) értelmezéseiben megfogalmazza az Alkotmány és a benne foglalt jogok elvi alapjait, és ítéleteivel koherens rendszert alkot, amely (…) mint "láthatatlan alkotmány", az alkotmányosság biztos mércéjéül szolgál (…) amíg az alkotmányosság fogalmának keretén belül marad." Ez a koncepció az Alkotmánybíróság feladatát a napi politikai érdekeken túli alkotmányos koherencia fenntartásában, a magyar demokratikus politikai közösség jogi kereteinek, az eltéro értéktartalmú kulturális és erkölcsi érdekek és értékek összeegyeztethetoségének megteremtésében látja és láttatja. E hitvallás fontos eszköz volt a magyar politikai átmenet intézményi, jogi hátterének kialakításában. A korábban sokat támadott metafora – és ítélkezési gyakorlat – számos, demokratikus értelemben eloremutató ítélet jogelméleti alapját teremtette meg.
Sajnálatos, hogy a Sólyom László jegyezte 1995-ös határozat ellentmond e koncepciónak, és határozott, ám vitatható erkölcsi értékválasztást képvisel. Az ítélet, miközben az alkotmányosságon belüli érveket használva kimondta, hogy az érzelmi és vagyoni közösségben együtt élo személyek között – az élettársi közösség keretei között – alkotmányosan nem teheto különbség az együtt élok neme alapján, az azonos nemueknek a házassághoz való jogát történeti-kulturális érveléssel tagadja. Az AB álláspontja szerint "a házasság intézménye kultúránkban és jogunkban is hagyományosan férfi és no életközössége. Ez az életközösség tipikusan közös gyermekek születését és a családban való felnevelését célozza (…) gyermekek nemzésére és szülésére való képesség nem fogalmi eleme és nem feltétele a házasságnak, de a házasság eredeti és tipikus rendeltetésébol folyóan a házastársak különnemusége igen."
Ez az érvelés tarthatatlan. Képzeljük el a Sólyom-bíróság érvelését 1867-ben, a zsidó emancipáció idején: "a jogegyenloség intézménye kultúránkban és jogunkban is hagyományosan a keresztény felekezetuek joggyakorlásának eszköze. Ez a joggyakorlás tipikusan keresztény felekezetu emberek együttélését és emberi jogainak gyakorlását célozza, a hitélet valós gyakorlásának képessége nem fogalmi eleme és nem feltétele a jogegyenloségnek, de a jogegyenloség eredeti és tipikus rendeltetésébol folyóan a jogalanyok keresztény mivolta igen…" Vagy mit gondolnánk arról, ha 1918-ban a noi választójog bevezetésének vitájában valaki így érvelt volna: "a választójog gyakorlásának intézménye kultúránkban és jogunkban is hagyományosan a férfi nemu állampolgárok joggyakorlásának eszköze. Ez a joggyakorlás tipikusan férfi nemu emberek együttélését és politikai jogainak gyakorlását célozza, a nemi képesség gyakorlásának képessége nem fogalmi eleme és nem feltétele a jogegyenloségnek, de a jogegyenloség eredeti és tipikus rendeltetésébol folyóan a jogalanyok férfi mivolta igen…"
A Sólyom-bíróság ítélete túlnyúlik a jog értelmezésének a keretein, és történeti-kulturális érveléssel igyekszik egy általa vallott értékrendet alkotmányos eszközökkel megalapozni. Az ítélet amellett, hogy ellenkezik Sólyom László alkotmányos filozófiájával és belso ellentmondásoktól is terhes, súlyosan sérti az emberi méltóság és jogegyenloség alkotmányos értékeit. Sólyom László alkotmánybírói tevékenysége, a rendszerváltás alkotmányalapú intézményrendszerének megteremtésében játszott szerepe tiszteletreméltó, amiképp személyesen támogató tisztelettel figyelem a köztársasági elnöki intézmény erkölcsi és politikai függetlenségének megteremtésére és fenntartására irányuló törekvését is. De a homoszexualitással kapcsolatos alkotmánybírói álláspontja alkotmányosan téves, politikailag veszélyes és erkölcsileg megkérdojelezheto. A láthatatlan alkotmány filozófiája helyett ebben a kérdésben Sólyom az alkotmányos érvelést kulturális – azaz eloítélet-alapú – véleményalkotással helyettesíti.
Ez a Sólyom-bíróság gyakorlatában nem egyedülálló. A Sólyom László vezette Alkotmánybíróság egyik ítéletében azzal foglalkozott, meg lehet-e az Alkotmány alapján tiltani: hogy egy homoszexuálisok érdekeit védo szervezet 18 éven aluli fiatalembert tagjai sorába fölvegyen. Az AB a tiltás alkotmányossága mellett azzal érvelt, hogy a homoszexuálisok jogegyenloségéért küzdo érdekvédelmi szervezetben vállalt tagság felveti az állam jogi kötelezettségét, hogy biztosítsa a szükséges védelmet és gondoskodást a gyermekek testi, szellemi és erkölcsi fejlodéséhez. Nehéz nem kihallani ezen érvelésbol azt az erkölcsi álláspontot, mely a "homoszexualitással kapcsolatos" érdekvédelmi szervezetben viselt tagságot elítélendonek, a homoszexualitást veszélyesnek tartja. Amint azt Halmai Gábor alkotmányjogász már kifejtette, az AB "ebben a döntésben tulajdonképpen erkölcstelennek minosített(e) a homoszexualitást."
A köztársaság jelenlegi elnöke iránt érzett tisztelet nem teszi lehetové, hogy kimondjam, amit az ilyen nézeteket vallókra könnyen kimondunk. Sólyom László személyes integritásának megkérdojelezése nem célom, ám o is tévedhet. Többször írtam: fontos, hogy a jövo generációja, az épített és természetes környezet értékei, az erkölcsi egység és személyes integritás iránt elkötelezett politikai szereplo alapveto kérdésekben ne hibázzon, hisz az más, fontos értékek iránti elkötelezettségének politikai és erkölcsi hitelét is aláássa.
Hasonlóképp aggályos, ha egy téves ítélet hosszú utóélete emberi sorsokat veszélyeztet, s rombolja a politikai közösség egységét.
Itt az ido, hogy Sólyom – ezúttal a köztársaság elnökeként – megmutassa, sem alkotmánybíróként, sem a köztársaság valamennyi polgárát magában foglaló politikai közösség erkölcsi rendjének védelmezojeként nem eloítéletek foglya. Korábbi álláspontjának felülvizsgálatával és kiállásával jó szolgálatot tenne a Köztársaságnak, épp az általa védett erkölcsi egység megteremtése érdekében. Fohajtás járna érte.
A szerzo stratégiai tanácsadó
Translation of above commentary:
Is the ban against gay marriages unconstitutional?
The constitutional court’s ban against gay marriage, first issued in 1995, was ratified a few weeks ago.
Historian Róbert Braun nonetheless hopes the discussion will continue until what he sees as an outdated mentality disappears.
"The decision goes beyond the scope of juristic interpretation and constitutes an attempt to bring the preferred system of values in line with the constitution on the strength of historical-cultural arguments. Just imagine if in the 1918 discussion about votes for women the case had been made that voting was an institution reserved for male citizens for traditional reasons, and that therefore being a member of the male sex was a fundamental condition for participating in this institution. The standpoint of the constitutional court on homosexuality is wrong, politically dangerous and morally questionable for exactly the same reasons."
19th November 2007 – PinkNews
Hungary considers new rights for unmarried couples
by Maryam Omidi
Gay and unmarried couples in Hungary may soon be able to register their "domestic relationships" following draft legislation which the government is submitting to parliament this week. According to a government spokesman, David Daroczi, the proposed law, which would take effect from 1st January 2009, would give couples many of the same benefits as married couples, including rights of inheritance and taking each other’s name.
They would not, however, be able to adopt children.
Government statistics show that there were an estimated 349,000 unmarried couples in Hungary in 2005, 12.2 per cent of all families, compared to 62,000 in 1970, 2.1 per cent of all families. But around 120 other laws would need to be adjusted to make way for the new legislation, many of which would require a two-thirds majority before they are ratified, including support from centre-right opposition. Tibor Navracsics, parliamentary leader of Fidesz, the main centre-right opposition faction, said that his party could not make a statement regarding the legislation as they were yet to see it.
At present, the Hungarian government is led by socialist Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany who controls 54 per cent of the 386 seats. Referring to the draft legislation, a statement from the Prime Minister’s office said: "The government’s objective is to have order, to finally make the laws conform to people’s changed living circumstances." Hungary was the first former communist state to legalise same-sex partnerships.
18th December 2007 – PinkNews
Hungary approves partnership legislation
by PinkNews.co.uk staff writer
Hungary’s parliament yesterday approved the Registered Partnership Act. From January 1st 2009 lesbian and gay couples will have almost identical rights as married heterosexual couples in common law. Notable exceptions are the right to adopt, access to fertility treatment and the right to take their partner’s surname. The Registered Partnership Act was passed with votes of the members of the Socialist-led social-liberal government. Both gay and straight couples will be able to register their partnership, and will have protections regarding next of kin status, taxation, health care, inheritance, social security, pensions and shared possession of a home.
Government statistics show that there were an estimated 349,000 unmarried couples in Hungary in 2005, 12.2 per cent of all families, compared to 62,000 in 1970, 2.1 per cent of all families. Hungary’s opposition conservative parties refused to back the new law, which they regard as a "hidden attempt" to legalise gay marriage. The Hungarian gay and lesbian associations have welcomed new law as a milestone while acknowledging it does not grant full equality.
June 12, 2008 – PinkNews
Outrage as Budapest Pride banned by police
by Tony Grew
Gay rights activists have reacted angrily to news that the chief of police in Budapest has decided that a Pride march planned for July 5th will interfere with traffic and therefore will not go ahead. The Europe branch of the International Lesbian and Gay Association said it is "appalled" by the decision. ILGA-Europe called on the police chief, Gabor Toth, to change his decision and back Pride. At last year’s Pride in Budapest skinheads and fascists massed along the 7km (4.3 mile) route of the march for gay rights. They threw eggs and bottles filled with sand at the marchers. Later that evening almost a dozen gay people were set upon and beaten.
Pride organisers said that the police had failed to take appropriate action: "Contrary to a number of reports and the statement of the Interior Ministry, items capable of causing grievous bodily harm were thrown at the marchers: beer bottles, smoke bombs and molotov cocktails," they said. "The counter-demonstrators continuously shouted: "faggots into the Danube, followed by the Jews," "soap factory" and "filthy faggots." "In the neighbourhood of the event closing the parade dozens of attacks on gays by lingering counter-demonstrators took place." On that occasion the Prime Minister of Hungary, Ferenc Gyurcsany, utterly condemned the incidents as "brutal, unacceptable, and outrageous."
Patricia Prendiville, Executive Director of ILGA-Europe, said today: "We are appalled by the decision of the Budapest police chief. We consider his decision as a sign of giving in to the threats of ultra nationalists. The traffic hindrance explanation and an earlier suggestion to the LGBT activists to organise a stationary event in an area remote from the city centre are just excuses for the unwillingness of the Budapest police chief to take his responsibilities seriously to ensure order. One of the main objectives of any LGBT Pride March is to raise visibility for the LGBT community and communicate the community’s concerns and issues to the wider public. The police should not be preoccupied with making their lives and jobs easier by banning the demonstrations or sending the participants away from the public. It is the duty of the police to ensure that each citizen or group of citizens has a right to assemble, and express their view and opinions without interference. The law in Europe and Hungary on this subject is clear and the police are there to obey and enforce the law."
Fascism has been on the rise in Hungary in recent years.
In 2007 a far-right Hungarian political party, Jobbik, known for their anti-Semitic, anti-Roma and homophobic rhetoric, inducted the first members of its paramilitary wing, the Magyar Guard, outside the country’s Presidential palace in Budapest. Jobbik supporters were among the people who attacked Pride. The founding members of Magyar Garda took oaths of allegance in front of over a thousand supporters of the Jobbik party waving red and white striped Arpad flags, similar to those used by the country’s pro-Nazi Arrow Cross regime during the Second World War.
June 13, 2008 – PinkNews
Police will allow Budapest Pride to go ahead along planned route
by Tony Grew
The chief of police in the Hungarian capital Budapest has agreed to let a Pride march take place along its original route. Yesterday he faced international condemnation when he attempted to ban the event. Negotiations between organisers and chief Gabor Toth were due to take place this afternoon, but instead he has agreed to the original plan for the July 5th march. He had earlier argued that a static gathering would be more appropriate.
Last year’s Pride march saw vicious attacks from right-wing groups and the police were accused of failing to protect the marchers adequately. Organisers from the Patent Association have asked people to join their online petition for adequate police protection.
"We hope the police have understood that it is their job to protect the march from attacks, and not to try to avoid the attacks by banning the march," said Gabor Kuszing of the Patent Association. We hope that they have learned from last year’s serious attacks and will appear in adequate numbers to protect us."
June 27, 2008 – PinkNews
Gay bar in Budapest suffers arson attack amid concerns about Pride
by Tony Grew
Gay rights activists in Hungary have spoken of their concerns about extreme right-wing violence in the country after a gay bar in the capital Budapest was set on fire with a petrol bomb. The bar, called Action, was attacked yesterday. In a chilling reminder of a tactic sometimes used by terrorist groups, a telephone warning, allowing the bar to be evacuated. Just after the basement bar was cleared, a petrol bomb exploded – it is unclear from reports whether it was thrown – and the foyer was destroyed in the fire. Activists said it could be the work of a group who use a website called kuruc.info.
Described as "an extremist nationalist hate site targeted against gay people, liberals, Jewish people," the phone numbers and other details about gay activists are regularly posted on the site. "This site, although Hungarian, is hosted in a US server, so there is nothing we can do to stop them," a Hungarian activist from Budapest told PinkNews.co.uk this morning. Yesterday this site put out an address list of all the gay bars in Budapest, the first in the list being Action. Later that night, it was set on fire."
The chief of police in Budapest has said he is anticipating disruptions to this year’s Pride march on July 5th. Last year at Budapest Pride, a gang of ultra-nationalists, skinheads and fascists attacked marchers along the 7km (4.3 mile) route.
Pride organisers said that the police had failed to take appropriate action: "Contrary to a number of reports and the statement of the Interior Ministry, items capable of causing grievous bodily harm were thrown at the marchers: beer bottles, smoke bombs and molotov cocktails," they said. " The counter-demonstrators continuously shouted: "faggots into the Danube, followed by the Jews," "soap factory" and "filthy faggots.""
After last night’s arson attack on a gay venue, there is concern that fascist and nationalist extremists are planning more violence against the city’s gay community.
July 3, 2008 – PinkNews
Amid petrol bomb attacks, 400 police committed to gay beauty pageant
by Staff Writer, PinkNews.co.uk
While gay activists in Budapest are complaining that the police are not protecting gay businesses in the city, the organisers of Mr Gay Europe have announced they will have "400 policemen and women to protect them during the final." Two gay venues have been attacked with petrol bombs in the last week. The gay beauty pageant, which is closely modelled on events such as Miss World, takes place in the Hungarian capital this weekend. It includes a "Mr Gay Swim Wear competition."
A press statement from organisers stated: "The Mr. Gay Europe Pageant is much more than a "beauty contest." The young man selected will be more than just a pretty face and a sexy body. While physical beauty will be part of the judges’ considerations, it is a young man’s inner values that will make the difference in their selection."
20 people from across Europe are taking part, including a representative from Wales and another from the UK. Organisers said: "The police will … protect the Mr. Gay Europe final with a 400 men strong force. "The militant protestors have put up a web page with names and addresses of all gay venues in Budapest and already two bars have been attacked with fire bombs. Even so, Wednesday this week, 20 young men from all over Europe met in Budapest in order to win the title of Mr. Gay Europe. This is the fourth time this competition takes place, and it celebrates the gay European man and pays tribute to the diversity as well as what we have in common as gay men in Europe."
A gay sauna was targeted yesterday morning and a bar was attacked last week. Petrol bombs were used on both occasions and a telephone warning enabled the premises to be evacuated. The gay community in the city is fearful that more violence could occur during this week’s 13th LGBT Film and Cultural Festival and at the Pride march on Saturday.
"We are doubtful if the police are really protecting the gay establishments as they promised," said Gábor Kuszing of gay rights group Patent Association. Police were present around the cinema housing the Festival, however they left after the politicians opening the Festival finished with their speeches," he added. Yesterday’s attack comes after repeated threats against the LGBT festival and the Pride march from right-wing groups during the last few weeks.
Budapest’s police chief Gabor Toth is expecting harsher and more frequent disruption to the city’s Pride parade. Nationalist leaders are inviting "Hungarian patriots" to "protect Hungary’s honour" from the international gay community, according to the Budapest Times. Last month police decided to cancel this year’s Pride parade only to reverse their decision within twenty-four hours following international condemnation. The move to ban Pride 08 was widely seen as a reaction to last year’s parade when a dozen people, including a German couple, were beaten by skinheads with opponents throwing eggs, bottles and Molotov cocktails at marchers.
In a statement, Budapest’s mayor Gabor Demeszky said: "In this situation every democrat must raise their voice against cowardly troublemakers and call on the police to do everything to ensure the protection of peaceful marchers and spectators. As city mayor it is my duty to stand up for all those who are persecuted in Budapest due to their affiliation, faith, or sexual orientation."
July 4, 2008 – Bloomberg
Budapest Braces as Nationalists Plan to Disrupt Gay Pride March
by Alex Kuli
(Bloomberg) – Budapest police, tested by street violence five times in two years, are bracing for more clashes as nationalist groups plan to disrupt tomorrow’s Gay Pride Parade, calling it a provocation against Hungarian culture. The march, part of the city’s weeklong Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Festival, will pass through the heart of the capital tomorrow. Laszlo Toroczkai, who heads nationalist youth group 64 Counties, is calling on Hungarians to stop it.
“What we’re against is men walking around in pink miniskirts, half naked, kissing each other and desecrating the Bible on the street,” Toroczkai said in a phone interview. “Hungarian children don’t need to see that.” Toroczkai, 30, and fellow protest organizer Gyorgy Budahazy, 39, were among the leaders of anti-government demonstrations in September 2006 that turned into Hungary’s worst street violence in 50 years. Since then, police have regularly had to use tear gas and water cannons to disperse protests on national holidays, with 11 people injured in the most recent clashes on March 15. The anti-government sentiment that initially sparked the riots has since been replaced by a taste for violence, according to Judit Takacs, a sociologist at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
`Lack of Culture’
“It’s a political culture, or a lack of culture, that didn’t exist in Hungary before,” she said in a telephone interview. “It has become part of everyday life.” Police in the Czech Republic and Bulgaria clashed with anti- gay protesters who disrupted parades last week. In Poland, where President Lech Kaczynski banned a similar march for two years when he was Warsaw mayor, a survey last month showed that almost two thirds of people are hostile to homosexuals.
The violence against homosexuals in Hungary has already started, said Judit Penzes, whose Rainbow Mission Foundation is organizing the event. On June 27, unknown assailants threw a Molotov cocktail at the Action Bar, a Budapest gay striptease club where her organization is officially registered. Firebombers struck a second time yesterday at a gym in the city that’s frequented by gays, police spokeswoman Eva Tafferner said in a phone interview. The attacks are more a sign of violent attitudes than of rising anti-gay sentiment, according to Penzes.
“It’s not because homophobia is getting stronger,” she said in a phone interview. “A certain group of people has risen up that just likes to attack things. It doesn’t matter if it’s a football match or a gay-pride parade.” Human-rights group Amnesty International criticized Hungarian police over last year’s march, saying officers failed to protect the 900 gay activists taking part, who were pelted with eggs, bottles and Molotov cocktails. Eleven people were injured when protesters attacked people leaving a party after the parade, according to the human-rights group. Police said activists have registered three anti-gay demonstrations for tomorrow; they’ve pledged to prevent clashes. The Budapest-based newspaper Nepszabadsag said on June 25 this year’s protests may be more violent than a year ago, without citing anyone.
“Monitoring will be extended to the immediate area of the demonstrations, filtering out objects that are a threat to public safety and people whose intention isn’t to exercise constitutional rights, but to disrupt the peace and create disturbances,” the Budapest Police Department said on its Web site on July 2. Authorities first banned the parade, saying it would block traffic, then reversed the decision after Mayor Gabor Demszky and other politicians protested. Tafferner, the police spokeswoman, declined to comment on the outlook for violence.
The threat of clashes may persuade some people to stay home from this year’s parade, which will include mock same-sex weddings, Penzes said. Hungary will allow gay and lesbian couples to register civil unions starting in January. Gay pride marchers will demand the same rights as heterosexuals, such as the opportunity to marry, inherit from their partner, and to adopt children, Penzes said. The 64 Counties movement, whose name recalls a larger Hungary before the country was reduced in size after World War I, has as its slogan “Faith, Loyalty, Bravery.”
Toroczkai, who was arrested and deported last month as he tried to enter Canada to deliver a series of lectures on Hungarian politics, plans to throw eggs at parade participants. “I don’t know what else is going to happen,” he said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Kuli in Budapest at email@example.com.
July 7, 2008 – PinkNews
Budapest police praised by Pride organisers
by Phoebe Ferris-Rotman
This weekend’s Budapest Pride experienced full support from police amid violent fascist attacks, said organisers. An estimated 1,500 people participated in the LGBT solidarity demonstration, despite threats of violence and actual attacks at the event. The police protection was especially welcomed as the Budapest chief of police had originally tried to ban Pride, claiming that it would interfere with traffic. SWAT officers called in from all over Hungary followed the march and intervened when necessary. "It was great to see the police protecting us, after the police chief tried to ban the march," said Gábor Kuszing of gay rights group Patent Association.
The march was supposed to end in a cordoned-off area where a concert was going to take place. It was cancelled as a neo-Nazi mob had beaten up the performer and police were forced to use tear gas and a water cannon to clear the route for marchers to leave. The marchers were then escorted by police to nearby metro station as the mob was dispersed. LGBT organisers saluted police for protecting the Pride March after last year’s disappointing police inactivity.
"We lost a yearly celebration last year but we gained solidarity and legal protection for our right to peaceful assembly," Mr Kuszing said. Pride in Budapest in 2007 was plagued by skinheads and fascists shouting abuse and throwing items such as beer bombs, smoke bombs and petrol bombs at the peaceful marchers. Pride organisers denounced police inaction and this year’s attempt to ban the event was seen as giving in to the threats of ultra-nationalists.
After negotiations and international pressure the chief of police lifted the ban and gave the go ahead for the one mile march. Four individual counter attacks were launched against protesters attempting to disrupt the event. Although organisers had warned participants to carry large umbrellas and wear helmets, most people came without such protection. "There was one street where literally a shower of eggs and stones was poured on us," said Mr Kuszing. Last week two gay businesses in Budapest were attacked with petrol bombs.
July 8, 2008 – PinkNews
MEPs demand European Commission action after Pride violence
by Tony Grew
The European Parliament’s Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights has accused the Hungarian government of being unable to guarantee the safety of their citizens and visitors to the country. The violent scenes at a Pride march in Budapest on Saturday showed the country’s "inability to deal with extremists", said Michael Cashman, President of the Intergroup. "This must be referred to the European Commission and Commission’s President."
A Hungarian MEP, who is a Vice-President of the Intergroup, criticised the police. "(They) failed to protect citizens exercising their fundamental rights to peaceful assembly, probably due to inadequate resources," said Sirpa Pietikäinen. "I will demand an explanation from the Hungarian government and I will raise this issue with the European Commission."
In a statement issued the day after the Pride march, Hungarian gay rights group the Patent Association said: "The police protected the march against serious physical attacks in an exemplary manner."
Last month police tried to cancel this year’s Pride march only to reverse their decision within twenty-four hours following international condemnation. The move to ban Pride 08 was widely seen as a reaction to last year’s event when a dozen people, including a German couple, were beaten by skinheads with opponents throwing eggs, bottles and Molotov cocktails at marchers. 1,500 people took part in the march on Saturday, and Patent said "many demonstrators were heterosexual and non-transgender (by the look of them) and several non-LGBT non-governmental organisations were present." There were attackers at nearly every corner along the one mile route. Counter-demonstrators threw petrol bombs, rotten eggs, faeces, eggs filled with acid or paint and cobblestones.
"There was one street where literally a shower of eggs and stones was poured on us," said Gábor Kuszing of Patent Association. "I was lucky to have a placard in my hand, and others used umbrellas, but most people just came in their regular clothes." He said police cordoned off streets and counter demonstrators were only allowed in side streets and were barricaded in.
SWAT officers in helmets and other protective equipment called in from across Hungary followed the march the whole length of the route and intervened where necessary. However, there has been criticism of police and the Fire Department over their attitude towards two petrol bomb attacks on gay businesses in the week leading up to Pride. A gay sauna and a basement bar were targeted last week. Petrol bombs were used on both occasions and a telephone warning enabled the premises to be evacuated. Budapest gay groups said the authorities need to realise the seriousness of the attacks.
"We call on the police to investigate these cases not as vandalism but as terrorist attacks," said Mr Kuszing. "Both acts constitute the crime of terrorist attack as described under the Hungarian Penal Code and Patent is filing a report to the police with that subject. We call on the leaders of the Fire Department to explain to the public of Hungary why setting fire to a public establishment does not constitute public threat, as this opinion of theirs was voiced in a press release by the police. We demand that neither authorities belittle the events but investigate them with due diligence and in accordance with their gravity."
If you read the news with sadness of the violence the LGBT community faced in Hungary this year at the Budapest Pride Parade, you might be interested in knowing that the violence which occurred was organized through a website ran by the ultra-right wing Hungarian Nazi Party, www.kuruc.info. It’s content called for violent visits of the LGBT community and had a countdown of the hours until the Budapest LGBT Pride Parade.
This website was hosted by first one, and then another, Texas based Internet Service Providers (ISPs), SoftLayer.com and Layeredtech.com via Databank.com. To their credit once they became aware that the content crossed the line from Freedom of Speech to promoting harm to individuals and resulted in two fire-bombings of LGBT businesses where people were hurt – and that Pride Organizers’ home addresses, phone numbers and photos had been posted with calls for violence, they took the website offline.
Now Kuruc.info has launched a Freedom of Speech campaign to raise funds and re-establish its attacks on the LGBT community via the internet. Supporters of the ISPs not allowing the perpetration of hate crimes on their servers are encouraged to write letters of appreciation to firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
On a positive note, the LGBT community in Budapest is launching a brilliant response to the attacks by bringing together a broad based coalition of Civil Organizations to come together in a public demonstration to call for an end to this violence in Hungary. If you would like to support their efforts, donations can be made via PayPal at http://www.budapestpride.hu/donation.php.
A friend of the Budapest LGBT community
Spread some love, donate to the Rainbow Mission Foundation’s work for human rights in Hungary http://www.budapestpride.hu/donation.php
September 9, 2008 – PinkNews
Hungarian PM backs new anti-fascist group
by Staff Writer, PinkNews.co.uk
A new non-partisan organisation has been founded in Budapest to combat extremist violence in Hungary. Acting in a personal capacity, the country’s Prime Minister, Ferenc Gyurcsany, attended the founding meeting of the Hungarian Democratic Charter on Sunday. The group will hold its first demonstration on September 20th. There have been violent clashes with police, attacks on politicians and gay Pride in recent months.
In July Budapest Pride was the target of violent fascist attacks. An estimated 1,500 people participated in the LGBT solidarity demonstration. SWAT officers called in from all over Hungary followed the march and intervened when necessary. The march was supposed to end in a cordoned-off area where a concert was going to take place. It was cancelled as a neo-Nazi mob had beaten up the performer and police were forced to use tear gas and a water cannon to clear the route for marchers to leave.
The marchers were then escorted by police to nearby metro stations as the mob was dispersed. Pride in Budapest in 2007 was plagued by skinheads and fascists shouting abuse and throwing items such as beer bombs, smoke bombs and petrol bombs at the peaceful marchers. In the week leading up to this year’s Pride two gay businesses in Budapest were attacked with petrol bombs. Activists said it could be the work of a group who use a website called kuruc.info.
Described as "an extremist nationalist hate site targeted against gay people, liberals, Jewish people," the phone numbers and other details about gay activists are regularly posted on the site. "This site, although Hungarian, is hosted in a US server, so there is nothing we can do to stop them," a Hungarian activist from Budapest told PinkNews.co.uk.
In August 2007 a far-right Hungarian political party, Jobbik, known for their anti-Semitic, anti-Roma and homophobic rhetoric, inducted the first members of its paramilitary wing outside the country’s Presidential palace in Budapest. The founding members of Magyar Garda, or the Hungarian Guard, took oaths of allegance in front of over a thousand supporters of the Jobbik party waving red and white striped Arpad flags, similar to those used by the country’s pro-Nazi Arrow Cross regime during the Second World War.
"The Hungarian Guard has been set up in order to carry out the real change of regime and to rescue Hungarians", Jobbik president and Magyar Garda founder Gabor Vona told the crowd. The paramilitary group says it will "defend Hungary physically, morally and spiritually." Members will be trained how to use weapons. At a counter-demonstration, black and white photographs of Jews wearing a yellow star and being herded into trains to death camps were displayed.
November 10, 2008 – PinkNews
Hungarian parliament approves homophobic hate crimes legislation
by Staff Writer, PinkNews.co.uk
Two landmark measures extending protections to LGBT people have been adopted by the Hungarian parliament. The counrty’s hate crime laws will be altered to a general formulation of a "violent act against a member of a social group," which is believed to include sexual orientation. The second piece of legislation makes it possible to initiate civil proceedings against a person who engages in degrading or intimidating behaviour towards groups based on nationality, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation. There have been violent clashes with police and attacks on politicians and gay Pride in recent years.
In July Budapest Pride was the target of violent fascist attacks. An estimated 1,500 people participated in the LGBT solidarity demonstration. SWAT officers called in from all over Hungary followed the march and intervened when necessary. The march was supposed to end in a cordoned-off area where a concert was going to take place. It was cancelled as a neo-Nazi mob had beaten up the performer and police were forced to use tear gas and a water cannon to clear the route for marchers to leave. The marchers were then escorted by police to nearby metro stations as the mob was dispersed.
Pride in Budapest in 2007 was plagued by skinheads and fascists shouting abuse and throwing items such as beer bombs, smoke bombs and petrol bombs at the peaceful marchers. In the week leading up to this year’s Pride two gay businesses in Budapest were attacked with petrol bombs. Gay rights activists said the future of the adopted laws is hard to predict.
"Former head of the Constitutional Court, now President of the Republic, László Sólyom has vetoed previous attempts to regulate hate speech, and the Constitutional Court adopted a one-sidedly freedom of speech perspective on the issue," one LGBT rights advocate told PinkNews.co.uk. "Several provisions of the bill on public order (although not the one on hate crimes) have also been criticised by human rights organisations. Whether the laws adopted will stand the test of the President and the Constitutional Court is yet to be seen."
The hate crimes provisions are part of a wider bill on the protection of public order. The bill contains various amendments to the Criminal Code relating to public demonstrations. It is reported that government officials shied away from mentioning LGBT people and hate crimes in the explanation of the bill or the parliamentary debate. The Socialist government has adopted several bills in past years to sanction less severe forms of hate speech, but all attempts have been struck down by the Constitutional Court claiming an unconstitutional limitation of the freedom of speech.
The new legislation which is believed to conform to the standards set by the Constitutional Court offers a civil law solution to hate speech: members of a group subjected to degrading or intimidating behavior can initiate civil proceedings against the offender. The law also contains specific provisions to combine claims by different individuals related to the same offence and explicitly mentions groups based on nationality, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation as groups protected by the legislation. In August 2007 a far-right Hungarian political party, Jobbik, known for their anti-Semitic, anti-Roma and homophobic rhetoric, inducted the first members of its paramilitary wing outside the country’s Presidential palace in Budapest.
The founding members of Magyar Garda, or the Hungarian Guard, took oaths of allegance in front of over a thousand supporters of the Jobbik party waving red and white striped Arpad flags, similar to those used by the country’s pro-Nazi Arrow Cross regime during the Second World War. "The Hungarian Guard has been set up in order to carry out the real change of regime and to rescue Hungarians", Jobbik president and Magyar Garda founder Gabor Vona told the crowd. The paramilitary group says it will "defend Hungary physically, morally and spiritually." Members will be trained how to use weapons. At a counter-demonstration, black and white photographs of Jews wearing a yellow star and being herded into trains to death camps were displayed.
December 15, 2008 – PinkNews
Hungarian court blocks same-sex partnership law
by Tony Grew
The Constitutional Court of Hungary has annulled a new law due to come into effect next month that would legally recognise gay and lesbian relationships. Parliament approved the Registered Partnership Act in December 2007. From January 1st 2009 lesbian and gay couples would have had have almost identical rights as married heterosexual couples in common law. Some exceptions are the right to adopt, access to fertility treatment and the right to take their partner’s surname.
The court ruled today that the new law downgrades marriage, but said that a partnership scheme for gay and lesbian couples only would be constitutional. Marriage has a special protection under the constitution. The Prime Minister, Ferenc Gyurcsány, has said a new bill will be prepared in light of the court’s ruling. There could be objections from some of his MPs who presented the partnerships law as being of benefit mainly to heterosexuals. They may be unwilling to back a new law that creates civil unions for gay and lesbian couples.
The Constitutional Court of Hungary is responsible for protecting the Constitution, reviewing the constitutionality of legislation and protecting fundamental constitutional rights. The Registered Partnership Act gave both gay and straight couples the right to register their partnership and protections regarding next of kin status, taxation, health care, inheritance, social security, pensions and shared possession of a home. Government statistics show that there were an estimated 349,000 unmarried couples in Hungary in 2005, 12.2 per cent of all families, compared to 62,000 in 1970, 2.1 per cent of all families. An opinion poll published last year after the law was passed found little support for the measure among the voters.
The Nepszabadsag survey found that only 12% of Hungarians think same-sex relationships are completely normal. 60% condemned homosexuality and 30% disapproved of gay people. In November two landmark measures extending protections to LGBT people were adopted by the Hungarian parliament. The counrty’s hate crime laws will be altered to a general formulation of a "violent act against a member of a social group," which is believed to include sexual orientation. The second piece of legislation makes it possible to initiate civil proceedings against a person who engages in degrading or intimidating behaviour towards groups based on nationality, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation.
There have been violent clashes with police and attacks on politicians and gay Pride in recent years. In July Budapest Pride was the target of violent fascist attacks. Pride in Budapest in 2007 was plagued by skinheads and fascists shouting abuse and throwing items such as beer bombs, smoke bombs and petrol bombs at the peaceful marchers. In the week leading up to this year’s Pride two gay businesses in Budapest were attacked with petrol bombs.
The Socialist government has adopted several bills in past years to sanction less severe forms of hate speech, but all attempts have been struck down by the Constitutional Court claiming an unconstitutional limitation of the freedom of speech. The new legislation which is believed to conform to the standards set by the Constitutional Court: members of a group subjected to degrading or intimidating behavior can initiate civil proceedings against the offender.