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Hungary to Allow
Domestic Partnerships for Unmarried, Gay Couples

Hungary to Allow
Domestic Partnerships for Unmarried, Gay Couples

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The Hungarian government next week will submit draft legislation to parliament allowing unmarried or gay couples to register their relationships. The bill would give them many of the same benefits currently granted only to married couples, including rights of inheritance or to take the other's name, government spokesman David Daroczi said Friday.

The Hungarian government next week will submit draft legislation to parliament allowing unmarried and gay couples to register their relationships.

The bill would give them many of the same benefits currently granted only to married couples, including rights of inheritance or to take the other's name, government spokesman David Daroczi said Friday.

It would not, however, give unmarried couples the right to adopt children together. Daroczi said the new law could take effect from January 1, 2009.

''The government's objective is to have order, to finally make the laws conform to people's changed living circumstances,'' the prime minister's office said in a statement.

According to government figures, there were some 349,000 unmarried couples in Hungary in 2005, around 12.2% of all families, compared with 62,000 in 1970, or around 2.1% of the total.

About 120 other laws would have to be modified to accommodate domestic partnerships, including many that would require a two-thirds majority vote among lawmakers to pass and, therefore, support from the center-right opposition.

Tibor Navracsics, parliamentary faction leader of Fidesz, the main center-right opposition party, said party members had not yet seen the draft bill so could not say yet if they would support it.

The government coalition led by Socialist prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsany controls 54% of the 386 seats in parliament.

Couples could dissolve a registered domestic partnership by testifying to a public notary, as long as they had no children together and had agreed on how to divide their possessions. By contrast, married couples must be divorced by a judge.

While men and women can get married under the age of 18 with a special permit, only those 18 or older will be able to register their domestic partnerships. (AP)

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