Thursday, 14 May 2009

365 Gay: Hungarian gays win partnership rights


(Budapest) Same-sex couples in Hungary will be able to register their relationships in a new domestic partner registry beginning July 1.

The legislation was signed into law by President Laszlo Solyom after winning passage in Parliament. Under the law partners must be over 18, live together and be financially interdependent. It will allow gay and lesbian couples to recognize partners as next of kin, provide for joint tax filing, allow partners to make decisions in health care, and assure inheritance, social security and pension rights.

It will not, however, allow same-sex couples to adopt or undergo fertility treatments, nor will it allow couples to share a common surname.

Last December, Hungary’s Constitutional Court overturned a similar law because it also would have allowed unmarried opposite-sex couples to register. The court in its ruling said the law would diminish the importance of marriage.

The ruling, however, said that a law allowing domestic partnerships for gay couples would not be unconstitutional - as long as it applied only to same-sex couples.

Gays and lesbians have had a difficult time in winning legal rights in Hungary.

Last year more than a dozen people were arrested during a disturbance by ultra-nationalists during Budapest’s pride march. Charges against all but four of the protestors who refused to obey a police order to disperse were dismissed. The judge hearing the case ruled that pelting marchers with eggs in a gay pride parade was protected free speech.

Police initially refused to grant gay pride organizers a parade permit but allowed a far right group permission to stage a counter protest.

In the days leading up to the parade two gay businesses in the city were firebombed.

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