The ruling of the Supreme Court of the United States defining same sex marriage as a constitutional right splits Hungarian public life across the left liberal versus conservative divide line. The leftist argument is that the law must not stand in the way of love, while conservatives fear that same-sex marriage will further aggravate demographic decline in developed countries.
Mandiner quotes the opening address at the Budapest’s Pride Festival in which former National Theatre director Róbert Alföldi criticised the mayor of the capital, István Tarlós who called the annual Pride March “unnatural and repulsive”. Alföldi said such remarks are unworthy of a man of culture believing in Christian and conservative values. He understands that the mayor may be at a loss or may be overwhelmed by bad feelings when confronted with same-sex couples but as the leader of the city he has to make an effort to change that mind-set. He must get beyond the idea that there are first class and second class citizens, Alföldi argues. And if he succeeds he “will not almost faint when he has to shake hands with someone like me”, says the actor-director who is “neither proud nor ashamed of being gay” .
On Mozgástér, Gábor Megadja agrees with the minority opinion within the US Supreme Court and calls the ruling a “constitutional coup” as it was passed by unelected people, in contrast with a similar decision taken in Ireland at a referendum. He castigates Hungarian liberals for being only consistent in the sense that they support any progressive measure regardless of its procedural shortcomings. The US Supreme Court, he explains, put itself into the position of the sovereign without being mandated to do so. Quite similarly to the Hungarian Constitutional Court in earlier years, which produced thousands of pages of rulings interpreting what it called the unwritten constitution. When those rulings were deprived of their binding constitutional nature under the new fundamental law, Hungarian liberals protested and said that the new parliamentary majority was dismantling the system of checks and balances. When welcoming the same-sex marriage ruling however they proved that the checks and balances metaphor was for them a hollow slogan only, because it would suppose institutions mutually controlling each other, while in this case the Supreme Court practically made law, without any other instance capable of exercising any checks and balances against it.
On Mandiner, Gábor Bencsik admits the liberal achievement in having the rights of sexual minorities recognised. Nowadays intelligent people don’t debate the right of anyone to have intimate and publicly visible relations with whomever they want. If conservatives oppose same-sex marriage it is not because they want to interfere with other people’s private life. The reason is that apparently they have a different definition of marriage than the Liberals, who believe that marriage is a right. Conservatives on the other hand believe that marriage is an institution whose function is to support the reproduction of the human race and the protection of the children. Of course it is also a sentimental bond and if it was that alone, there would not be any problem, he continues and even concedes that there is a very strong moral argument against any kind of discrimination in this field. But he says the moral argument has to be confronted with a biological one. The question for conservatives is whether same-sex marriage impairs the reproductive capacity of mankind or of a given community, and they believe it does. Bencsik argues that declining birth rates in the developed world are due to the erosion of the institution of marriage which is also expressed in the increasing number of births outside wedlock and of marriages ending in divorce. He admits to having no proof that same-sex marriage will further aggravate those trends, but asks whether there will still be anything we can call European civilisation by the time mankind will have found a definitive answer to this question.