Press release May 20, 2020
Hungary: Constitutional Court Should Overturn Ban on Legal Gender Recognition
Freedom House condemns the Hungarian parliament's move to ban legal gender recognition and urges the Constitutional Court to review the legislation.
In response to the Hungarian parliament’s vote to approve legislation that replaces the category of “sex” on the civil registry with “sex assigned at birth,” Freedom House issued the following statement:
“We condemn the Hungarian parliament’s move to ban legal gender recognition and urge that the bill be submitted for review by the Constitutional Court,” said Marc Behrendt, director of Europe and Eurasia programs at Freedom House. “This legislation is designed to suppress the rights of transgender and intersex people in a country whose government has grown increasingly hostile to the LGBT+ community amid broader backsliding on democracy. Passing such a measure as part of an omnibus bill and restricting the rights of vulnerable communities during a pandemic is unacceptable and a threat to democratic norms. The legislation, which denies self-determination by replacing a flexible category with an immutable one, serves only to exacerbate social tensions and limit the ability of LGBT+ people to live freely.”
The deputy prime minister introduced the omnibus bill on March 31, the International Transgender Visibility Day. A day earlier, the parliament had approved a controversial measure granting the prime minister the power to rule by decree indefinitely under the guise of combating the COVID-19 pandemic. On May 19, the parliament voted 133 to 57 in favor of the omnibus bill, whose Article 33 replaces the category of “sex” on the civil registry with “sex assigned at birth.” The civil registry serves as the basis for all legal identity documents used by Hungarian citizens. This change threatens to make it impossible for transgender and intersex people to bring their documents into alignment with their gender identity.
The bill not only violates international human rights norms, but also contradicts the Hungarian Constitutional Court’s unanimous 2018 ruling that the ability of transgender people to legally change their gender and name is a fundamental human right.