A recent survey shows that while Hungarian society is more accepting of same-sex relationships than it was two years ago, a majority of Hungarians still reject gay marriage, according to a report by abcug.hu. Young people are no more likely to approve of same-sex marriage than older people, and Budapest is less progressive on the question than smaller cities. Fidesz party supporters are the least likely to support same-sex marriage compared to supporters of other parties.
The survey, conducted jointly by Budapest Pride and Integrity Lab, found that 36 percent of Hungarians believe same-sex couples have a right to marry, and 46 percent support their right to adopt children, compared to 31 and 38 percent, respectively, in a 2014 survey. Still, 56 percent of Hungarians would be bothered to see a same-sex couple kissing or holding hands in public, compared to 31 percent if it were a heterosexual couple. Nearly half the population doesn’t see anything wrong with being attracted to a member of one’s own sex, and more than half don’t believe it to be merely a matter of choice. 60 percent agree that gays, lesbians and bisexuals should have the same rights as anyone else, and 60 percent disagree that same-sex marriage endangers Hungarian families or children.
Some of the data surprised the organizations that prepared the survey: they expected much more conservative answers from respondents. However, certain demographic variables which have typically correlated with openness to LGBTQ ( lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning) issues, such as urban/rural and age, were not necessarily reflected in the survey. People aged between 18-29 were among the least supportive of same-sex marriage: only 35 percent agreed that it should be allowed, compared to 38 percent of 30- to 39-year-olds, 31 percent of 40- to 49-year-olds, 40 percent of 50- to 59- year-olds and 35 percent of those 60 and older. 39 percent of women supported same-sex marriage, compared to 32 percent of men.
35 percent of Budapest residents agreed that same-sex marriage should be allowed, compared to 39 percent in both county seat cities and other towns. 32 percent of people living in villages support same-sex marriage.
Conservative attitudes in the capital city might have something to do with Budapest mayor István Tarlós having a particularly closed stance on the issue, and that conservative leadership might have an impact on social attitudes in the city, said Integrity Lab representative Roland Reiner. “It is visible in other issues too that the city is constantly losing the progressive nature that defined it between 1990 and 2010,” he said.
The survey also asked people about their general attitudes toward marriage. 80 percent saw no problem with unmarried couples living together, and two-thirds disagreed that couples must get married before having children. The survey also found that among people who had LGBTQ friends or acquaintances, 46 percent supported same-sex marriage.
“The data is very encouraging, it seems that society is much more open than the political elite,” said Budapest Pride representative Cintia Karlik. “More and more LGBTQ people are appearing, which is obviously having a positive impact on social attitudes.”
Political affiliation played perhaps the greatest role in determining attitudes toward same-sex marriage. Likely voters for liberal democratic parties Együtt, Dialogue for Hungary (PM) and the Hungarian Liberal Party (MLP) were the most supportive of same-sex marriage with 80 percent in favor. A majority of Democratic Coalition (DK) and Politics Can Be Different (LMP) supporters were also in favor with 56 and 57 percent respectively. Only 44 percent of Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) supporters favored gay marriage, and 34 percent of far-right Jobbik supporters were in favor. Governing party Fidesz supporters were the most likely to reject same-sex marriage: 71 percent disapproved, and only 24 percent think it should be allowed.