According to Reuters, Hungary’s government is taking another step in their ongoing attempt to return the nation to a faith-and-family based society:
Hungary’s government proposed a constitutional amendment on Tuesday requiring children to be raised with a Christian interpretation of gender roles, as Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s ruling nationalists turn to anti-LGBT rhetoric to shore up support.
The draft amendment submitted to parliament by Justice Minister Judit Varga declares that children must be guaranteed an “upbringing based on values stemming from Hungary’s … Christian culture.”
“The basis for family relations is marriage,” it says. “The mother is a woman, the father is a man.”
It also says Hungary “protects children’s right to the gender identity they were born with,” using language consistent with a government campaign to outlaw transgender identities.
Orban’s nationalist Fidesz party and his political allies, the small Christian democratic party KDNP, face elections in early 2022 with their grip on power potentially weakened by the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impact. In May, Hungary banned gender changes in personal documents. It has also taken issue with children’s books that portray diversity positively.
In part of Tuesday’s bill explaining the justification for the new constitutional amendment, the government said it was needed to protect children “from new, modern ideological trends in the Western world … that pose a threat to children’s right for healthy development”.
Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjen said last week that Hungary should enshrine in its constitution a ban on “gender propaganda” to protect children. He also said gays should not be allowed to adopt children and start families.
Katalin Novak, Hungary’s minister for family, described the new changes on Twitter thusly: “Due to COVID, a change in the Fundamental Law has become necessary. The Gov also initiates an amendment to reflect contemporary challenges: Hungary shall protect the institution of marriage as the union of one man and one woman established by voluntary decision and the family as the basis of the survival of the nation. Family ties shall be based on marriage and the relationship between parents and children. The mother is female, the father is male.”
All of this would, circa 2000, seem so obvious that articulating it would have seemed vaguely ridiculous. Oh, you have eyes too? But in 2020, a statement reflecting reality is now wildly offensive. Predictably, the international press is framing the move as another attack on progressives by the evil Orban.
As I noted in my review of Anne Applebaum’s latest book Twilight of Democracy, in which she condemns Orban and other populists: Perhaps Applebaum might consider that those figures she sees as attacking fundamental norms—Trump and Orbán, for example—are reasonably seen by others as protecting basic norms that the entirety Western civilization took for granted for over a thousand years. Perhaps Applebaum now thinks female penises are a thing, but plenty of people find this a bit of a stretch. Different people value different norms more highly than others.
I continue to watch the Hungarian experiment with great interest. I hope they are modeling a solution that can be adapted by other dying Western countries in the future.