Hungary’s government drafted legislation that would practically ban adoption by same-sex couples in what rights groups said was an attack on the LGBTQ community when COVID-19 meant they could not protest.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government also proposed a constitutional amendment requiring children to be raised with a Christian interpretation of gender roles.
Orban, whose nationalist Fidesz party faces elections in early 2022, faces the biggest challenge to his decade in power from the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impact on Hungary.
Nearby, Poland’s ruling nationalist PiS party made homophobia a key plank of its campaign in an election this year.
The bills were submitted to Hungary’s parliament late on Tuesday to shore up support for the government, just before stringent coronavirus restrictions took effect on Wednesday to curb a rise in infections.
The government, which has increased anti-LGBTQ rhetoric as the coronavirus crisis hit the economy, said the bill would increase “emphasis on children’s’ rights during adoption”.
The proposed legislation says only married couples can adopt children, and single people can only adopt with special permission from the minister in charge of family affairs.
The Hatter rights group said the legislation practically means a ban on gay adoption, which until now has been possible if one partner applied as a single person since Hungary does not allow gay marriage, adding that the government was targeting LGBTQ people instead of dealing with the pandemic.
“The timing is no coincidence: the proposals that severely limit legal rights and go against basic international and European human rights … were submitted at a time when… protests are not allowed,” the rights group said in a statement.
In May, Hungary banned gender changes in personal documents and has also taken issue with children’s books that portray diversity positively.