Hungarian President signs the law that bans gender recognition

Photo: parlament.hu

Despite human rights concerns, Hungarian President signs the law that bans legal gender recognition.

As President of the Republic, János Áder became famous for his tendency to sign the laws voted by the Fidesz-KDNP majority instead of maintaining constitutionality, despite the opposition, citizens and domestic and international bodies speaking out. The "Don't sign it, János!" saying entered the public consciousness in 2013, unfortunately seven years later Áder still disappoints. He has now ratified the law that makes it legal gender recognition impossible, which violates international human rights norms, and the consistent practice of the Constitutional Court. 

The omnibus bill was filed on March 31, the International Transgender Visibility Day, by the Hungarian Deputy Prime Minister. Parliament voted by 133 to 57 to pass the bill on May 19 afternoon, with the two-thirds majority of Orbán’s Fidesz party enough to push it through, in spite of opposition from other parties. Opposition parties submitted several amendments, which were voted down by the Fidesz-KDNP majority one by one.

It amends the Registry Act and replaces the word “nem”, which in Hungarian can mean both “sex” and “gender”, with the word “születési nem” (“birth sex”), defining it as “biological sex based on primary sex characteristics and chromosomes”. According to the bill, the birth sex, once recorded, cannot be amended. 

The prohibition of legal gender recognition clearly violates international human rights norms, and the consistent case law of the European Court of Human Rights. It also contradicts the consistent practice of the Hungarian  Constitutional Court, that ruled in 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2018 (in 2018 unanimously) that the legal gender and name change for transgender people are a fundamental human right. 

The bill has gained both national and international attention: 

We will not give up fighting this law. We call on the Ombuds, Ákos Kozma, to initiate the nullification of the law via the Constitutional Court due to its unconstitutional nature. We expect the Constitutional Court to affirm its consistent verdict: legal gender recognition is the constitutional right of transgender and intersex people.