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Dec 15, 2020 - Zoltán Kovács

Hungarian Parliament has amended the constitution to enshrine protections for family and children

The Fundamental Law of Hungary now protects families and children in a unique way, even in Europe. The amendment adopted today by the National Assembly provides all children with an education and upbringing based on the values of Hungary’s culture and guarantees the undisturbed development of the child according to his or her sex at birth.

 

On November 10, the government submitted a proposal to amend the Hungarian Fundamental Law, intended to strengthen the protection of Hungarian families and the safety of our children.

Today, the National Assembly adopted the bill, with 134 MPs voting in favor, 45 against and 5 abstentions. According to the amendment, Hungary will be the first country in the European Union to define the concept of family at the constitutional level and to ensure the undisturbed development of children.

According to the new text, Section L paragraph (1) of the Fundamental Law: “Hungary protects the institution of marriage as the association between a man and a woman and the family as the basis for the survival of the nation. The foundation of the family is marriage and the parent-child relationship. The mother is a woman, the father is a man.”

The following will also be included in the Section on children: “Every child has the right to such protection and care as is necessary for his or her physical, mental and moral development. Hungary protects the right of children to self-identity according to their sex at birth and provides an upbringing in accordance with the values based on Hungary's constitutional identity and Christian culture.”

In the Justification of the bill, the legislator states that “The Fundamental Law of Hungary is a living framework that expresses the will of the nation, the form in which we want to live. However, the ‘modern’ set of ideas that make all traditional values, including the two sexes, relative is a growing concern. The constant threat to the natural laws of the forms and content of human communities, to the concepts arising from the order of Creation that harmonize with them and ensure the survival of communities, and, in some cases, the attempt to formulate them with a content contrary to the original raises doubts as to whether the interests, rights and well-being of future generations can be protected along the lines of the values of the Fundamental Law. The legislator must therefore clearly set out the basic guarantees for the protection of children and the rights of future generations […].”

The amendment also defines the concept of public money in order to develop a uniform practice for constitutional bodies. The proposal clearly, unambiguously and comprehensively defines the concept of public money to guarantee transparent use of said money. According to the new definition, public money includes “the revenues, expenditures and claims of the state.”

The new provisions on public-interest trusts — many higher education institutions operate in this form — is intended to establish the independence of these organizations from the current government. The rationale is that the establishment, operation and dissolution of the foundations is governed by a two-thirds law, increasing legal certainty, as a political consensus is needed to amend them.

Finally, the amendment establishes a new basis for special legal order.The current Basic Law defines six cases of extraordinary legal order: state of national crisis, state of emergency, state of preventive defense, state of terrorist threat, unexpected attack and state of danger. In the future, however, there will be only three cases: state of war, state of emergency, and state of danger.

In all three cases, the amendment gives the government the power to issue regulations, thus eliminating the right of the Defense Council to issue regulations during a state of national crisis and of the President of the Republic to do so during a state of emergency.

The amendment to the Fundamental Law comes into effect on the day following its promulgation. The rules related to the special legal order, however, become valid only from July 1, 2023.

Photo credit: parlament.hu