It is a constitutional right of Hungarians to raise their children according to the majority family value

It has been a global phenomenon for years that the radical left is working intensively to reshape public thinking and to push the majority family model and parenting principles into the background in order to promote the LGBTQ and trans lifestyles. In parallel, gender clinics in the United States and some Western European countries already provide hormone treatments for children, and an NGO called Transgender Europe, funded by the Open Society Foundations, is campaigning for the abolition of age restrictions on the legal recognition of transgender people. In light of these developments, it is worth exploring in depth the constitutional issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity, including relevant international conventions.

I. Fundamental rights and the freedom of self-determination of the people

As an introduction, it is important to state that the Fundamental Law of Hungary incorporates the requirement of equality before the law,[1] emphasizing that Hungary guarantees fundamental rights to everyone without discrimination.[2] A direct result of this provision is that both heterosexual Hungarians and Hungarians leading an LGBTQ lifestyle are full members of society, who, in doing so, can live their lives according to their own worldview, will and needs, within the legal framework. In other words, people belonging to different sexual minorities can shape their conduct of life according to their own principles, but this freedom is also enjoyed by the heterosexual majority as well. It also follows from the latter statement that the need of the majority society to preserve its own family perception, culture and identity can be morally and legally justified, that is, the respect for the rights of those belonging to the LGBTQ or trans community must not result in the undermining of the rights or legitimate interests of the majority.

This conclusion is confirmed by the right of peoples to self-determination, which is also a priority value in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which have also been ratified by Hungary. These two international conventions state that "all peoples have the right to self-determination"[3] and "by virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development".[4] This approach is also reflected in the Helsinki Final Act signed in 1975, which states that the participating States "respect each other's right freely to choose and develop its political, social, economic and cultural systems as well as its right to determine its laws and regulations".[5] Three important conclusions can be drawn from these provisions and from the conceptual elements of the democratic rule of law:

  1. Only the people can determine the direction of political, social, economic and cultural organization and development.
  2. People exercise their power directly or indirectly (through representatives).
  3. Under the democratic decision-making mechanism, in both forms of the exercise of power, the will of the majority shapes the functioning of the state and determines the image of the country (while respecting the rights of the minority).

The concept of "people" is deliberately not specified in more detail in international documents, as it can be an ethno-cultural community (a group that speaks the same language and preserves the same cultural traditions) but can also be a purely political community (citizens living in the same area with the same rights and obligations).

In the spirit of the above, the recognition of the rights of LGBTQ and transgender citizens does not imply the expectation suggested by the radical left that, by adapting the views of one or more sexual minorities, the family model, family values preferred by the majority of Hungarians, or the expectations related to the upbringing of children, should be given up. On the contrary, the majority has the right to consistently represent its own world of values as well as its worldview, a right that rests on democratic, constitutional foundations. These majority values and norms must also be respected by common institutions (e.g. educational institutions).

II. Protecting the smooth moral and intellectual development of children

Heated debates have been triggered in domestic public discourse by the volume entitled “Fairyland for All”, depicting fairy-tale heroes belonging to, different minority, sexual and gender-oriented groups, among others, which was published by the Labrisz Lesbian Association. In addition to the fact that 81 percent of the respondents involved in the representative survey of 1,000 people - conducted by Századvég among the Hungarian adult population - consider the start of the LGBTQ or transsexual sensitization among preschool and primary school children unacceptable, the question arises as to how this phenomenon is compatible with national and international child protection rules.

The New York Convention on the Rights of the Child, promulgated by Hungary in 1991, specifies that “the family, as the fundamental group of society and the natural environment for the growth and well-being of all its members and particularly children, should be afforded the necessary protection and assistance so that it can fully assume its responsibilities within the community.” [6]  The Convention also declares that “the child, for the full and harmonious development of his or her personality, should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding”, [7]  and States Parties “encourage the development of appropriate guidelines for the protection of the child from information and material injurious to his or her well-being.” [8] It is clear that the international convention mentioned gives special emphasis to the institution of the family as well as the protection of minors. Regarding the latter, the Convention declares that the child has the right to “a standard of living adequate for the child’s physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development”, [9] while under the Fundamental Law, “every child shall have the right to the protection and care necessary for his or her proper physical, mental and moral development”. [10]

The New York Convention on the Rights of the Child thus clearly spells out that all states should strive to ensure that children do not have access to information and content that is incompatible with or harmful to their age and development. In light of this, the question can rightly be asked: As children’s education on heterosexual matters does not start in kindergartens and elementary schools, how is LGBTQ and transgender sensitization acceptable at this age?

III. LGBTQ and transgender activism in the light of democratic legitimacy

There are several indications that the radical left, as well as the NGOs promoting LGBTQ and trans advocacy, treat it as a fact – without conducting a democratic dialogue – that the majority of Hungarians support the sensitization of minors, even in educational institutions and kindergartens maintained by the state or local governments. However, the quoted research conducted by Századvég reveals that only 17 percent of the respondents held this view, that is, the vast majority of the Hungarian population is opposed to the sexual minority sensitization among children. In light of this, it can be stated that the radical left-wing forces and the associated NGOs’ society-shaping activity of sexual orientation and gender identity among children lacks democratic legitimacy and the consent of the majority of voters.

This majority can be created through parliamentary elections or a referendum, but to do so, the organizations in question would have to openly enter the political arena and make their value commitment there – which they are not doing yet.

According to the German Constitutional Court, a democratic order is where the rule of law is established and the people's right to self-determination rests on the will of the majority.[11] In line with this, the Hungarian Constitutional Court held that “a generally governing requirement is that all norms of public law that can be enforced against domestic legal entities in domestic law application should be based on democratic legitimacy that can be traced back to popular sovereignty”.[12] According to the panel, the “aspect of democratic legitimacy” in Hungary “establishes the requirement that the creation of legal norms be traceable to the ultimate source of public power.”[13] As the Fundamental Law stipulates that “the source of public power is the people”, [14] it can be stated that the decisions that cannot be traced back to the people do not stand the test of the rule of law and democracy, and are therefore not in line with the will of the majority. Accordingly, it can be realized that – as Hungarians support the traditional family model and traditional family values and child-rearing norms – there is a democratic deficit behind the efforts of the radical left. At least until they can realize their expectations in parliamentary elections or referendums.

In summary, it is important to emphasize that the need of the vast majority of Hungarians to preserve their traditional family values, expectations and views related to the upbringing of children, and to enforce them in their own lives, and to resist attempts by the radical left and the NGOs cooperating with them to exert pressure without legitimacy is also politically, morally and legally justified.

[1] Fundamental Law of Hungary, Article XV Section (1)

[2] Fundamental Law of Hungary, Article XV Section (2)

[3] International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 1 Section 1

[4] International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Article 1 Section 1

[5] Helsinki Final Act Title I (Sovereign equality, respect for the rights inherent in sovereignty)

[6] Convention on the Rights of the Child, Preamble

[7] Convention on the Rights of the Child, Preamble

[8] Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 17 (e)

[9] Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 27 Section 1

[10] Fundamental Law of Hungary, Article XVI Section (1)

[11] The German Constitutional Court ruling, 23 October 1952

[12] Decision 30/1998. (VI.25.) of the Constitutional Court

[13] Decision 30/1998. (VI.25.) of the Constitutional Court

[14] Fundamental Law of Hungary, Article B) Section (3)

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