By Peter J. Smith

BUDAPEST, December 19, 2007 ( – Homosexual couples will have almost the same rights as heterosexual married couples beginning January 1, 2009 under a new law passed Monday by the Hungarian parliament.

Hungary’s parliament approved the Registered Partnership Act with 185 votes in favor, 154 against, and 9 abstentions. Hungary’s conservative opposition parties have said they refuse to back the new law passed by the Socialist-led social-liberal government, calling it a “hidden attempt” to introduce same-sex “marriage” into the country.

Gay and lesbian couples registering their partnerships will enjoy most of the rights reserved for traditionally married couples under common law, receiving legal protections regarding next of kin status, taxation, health care, inheritance, social security, pensions and shared possession of a home. The new law also allows non-married heterosexual couples to register their partnership and receive the same “benefits.”

However the law does not create for these registered homosexual (or heterosexual) partnerships any such right to adopt, access to fertility treatment, and any right to take a partner’s surname, whichever partner that may be.

The civil partnership act is likely the last step before homosexual activists press for full “marriage” recognition for homosexual couples. Activists are likely to argue that the law is inherently discriminatory by giving homosexuals nearly all the rights of heterosexual married couples, but deprives them of the name of “marriage.”

The Hungarian government is following in the steps of two other former communist bloc nations, the Czech Republic and Slovenia, which both legalized the registration of same-sex partnerships in 2006.

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