► What does the new amendment to the constitution say?
“Hungary protects the institution of marriage”, Who is here “Basis of the family relationship” and the relationship “Parent-child”. “The father is a woman, the father is a man”, also indicates the amendment adopted on Tuesday 15 December. It also protects the right of children to receive an education “In line with the values based on the constitutional identity and Christian culture of Hungary”. In her general justification for this constitutional amendment, the Minister of Justice, Judit Varga, welcomes a “Living environment” which protects Hungary from “The constant threat to natural laws”, and to “Concepts from the order of creation”.
This vote, however, comes in a context where the front Christianity of Viktor Orban begins to crack. The Jozsef Szajer affair is causing a stir in Hungary, where the hypocrisy of power is denounced by the opposition and the independent media. This close to the Prime Minister, longtime MEP, was surprised at the end of November, in a gay libertine party, despite health restrictions. Jozsef Szajer is also known to be one of the fathers of the current 2012 fundamental charter, establishing the “Christian democracy”.
► What does this imply for the rights of Hungarians?
“It’s a dark day for LGBT (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender) and a dark day for human rights”, reacted in a statement David Vig, director of the NGO Amnesty International in the country. Very specifically, the provisions adopted de facto proscribe homosexual union as well as adoption for same-sex couples.
Sexual minorities are not the only ones complaining about the consequences of this constitutional amendment. Feminist associations have indeed strongly condemned a video posted on social networks by the Secretary of State for Family, Katalin Novak, on the occasion of the vote on the amendment.
In her message, she urged women not to try to compete with men, whether it is about wage demands or place in society. Women are also starting to worry, as the 2012 Basic Charter provides for the protection of life from conception. This provision, demanded by the Christian Democratic Party KDNP, has never been translated into law. But recent developments raise fears of a restriction on abortion, as in Poland.
► Does Viktor Orban have the right to change the fundamental charter in this way?
To change the constitution, Viktor Orban had to get a two-thirds majority in Parliament. With 134 votes for (Fidesz and KDNP), 45 against and five abstentions, the electoral threshold was reached, despite the moderation of applause at the end of the vote. This is the ninth time that the Hungarian prime minister, in power since 2010, has amended this bespoke constitution in 2012.
On Tuesday 15 December, the Transgender Europe association called on the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, to take up the subject. But for the moment, no one has reacted in Brussels.
A new and unprecedented mechanism of sanctions was voted unanimously on December 10, at the last European Council. The payment of European funds will be conditional on proper respect for the rule of law. The possibility of discrimination against sexual minorities could, in theory, be argued. This is far from being the only possible ground for prosecution, while a bill reshuffles the electoral game to the detriment of the opposition, and the amendment of the constitution also provides for a limitation of the definition of the“Public money”. The ruling Fidesz could spiral out of control of the hundreds of millions of euros paid to its foundations.
Viktor Orban has promised, in any case, to initiate an appeal against this sanction mechanism before the Court of Justice of the EU. The procedure could take more than a year. A race against time is on between the EU and the ruling majority in Hungary, where general elections are scheduled for 2022.