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The law that makes single parent adoption dependent on the family minister’s approval took effect on Monday. While Katalin Novák insists that the possibility of adoption still exists for suitable singles, Hungary’s rainbow family community argues that the new rules are clearly directed against them. They want the old system back, speculating that with the changes the most disadvantaged children would be ultimately deprived of the opportunity to grow up with a family. 

According to the changes (the proposal was handed in by the Justice Minister in November), a child, with the exception of adoption by relatives or spouse, could only be adopted by married couples, so that adopted children “could grow up in a truly long-lasting community of love.” 

In any other cases, the family minister (currently Katalin Novák) can provide exceptions to the rule.

Critics question a politician making such decisions instead of experts. Many also view it as discriminatory against single parents and those living in registered partnerships.

The government’s recent growing statements from LGBTQ-critics and a similarly timed Constitutional Amendment that states “the mother is a woman, the father is a man,” have led many to thinking that making same-sex adoption impossible could be the motivation. However, non-married heterosexual couples’ adoption has been made more difficult as well.


For same-sex couples who are not allowed to marry in Hungary, adoption as a single parent was so far the only way to adopt: one of them applied to be an adoptive parent, and although they did not hide from the guardianship office that their partner would help raise the child, they alone could officially adopt the child. While the government has argued that there has been some kind of  misrepresentation or loopholes, the rainbow family community has consistently denied this, stressing that they have always respected the law and never hid their sexual orientation or partner from the relevant authorities.

Meanwhile, in a statement sent to wire service MTI, Novák explained that “…just as before, professionals will continue to decide whether those intending to adopt are suitable to adopt a child based on their personality and circumstances. The possibility of adoption still exists for suitable singles. The minister for family affairs will have a contributing role in the cases that deserve special consideration.” She also claimed that one of her first tasks would be to review the situation and documentation of each child who awaits adoption in the coming months and to speed up the family-finding process where possible.

However, Hungary’s rainbow family community, which kick-started a movement after the aforementioned Constitutional Amendment, and has since gained considerable popularity, urged the Orbán government not to implement the plan and reinstate the old system. Pointing to the aforementioned circumstances, they say they have no doubts that the changes are directed against them. In their Facebook post, they cite a number of examples of same-sex adoption of children previously unwanted by couples. In their view, these new restrictions are unfair to the most disadvantaged children, as same-sex couples proved to be more open to the adoption of children thought to be the most problematic.

In addition, in reference to Novák’s recent interview with Index (where she said that same-sex adoption is not among the hundred most important problems of Hungarians), potential adopters “…believe that the Family Minister shouldn’t have more important things to do than find a loving family for every child. Among them, those 70 children a year who have so far been adopted by singles. Or the 250 who are being taken abroad for adoption. They weren’t adopted by couples until now, nor would they be after this.”

featured image via Foundation for Rainbow Families- Facebook

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