‘Families are the basic units of any society’: Hungarian Minister for Families

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‘Families are the basic units of any society’: Hungarian Minister for Families

A Hungarian government minister has offered encouragement to pro-family forces throughout the world with recent comments about her nation’s commitment to protecting its uniqueness and its children.

Katalin Novak, Hungary’s Minister for Families, gave an interview to a Portuguese Catholic website in which she discussed part of Hungary’s amendments to its Constitution in December that include the definition of a mother as a woman and of a father as a man. 

“With the amendment (to) our Fundamental Law, we have recorded things that are obvious for Hungarian people," the married mother of three told the Dies Irae interviewer. 

“There is an alarming trend where basic truths that humankind held obvious and unquestionable are now being disputed," she continued. 

“Political ideology seems to trump science and reason.”

Although the transgender “trend” has not yet arrived in Hungary, the government decided to pass legislation to protect the definition of man and woman as determined by biology, rather than by political ideology. As well, Hungary’s ninth constitutional amendment respects the biology underpinning motherhood and fatherhood. They did this to protect children from the transgender agenda. 

“We want to defend our children and let them be children without using them for any ideological base,” Novak said. 
A “central part of the Hungarian government’s thinking is that the best interests of the child and well-being are paramount.”

In Portugal, a left-wing party proposed in 2017 that children over 16 who want to “change their sex” should be allowed to sue their parents if they don’t grant permission. Novak said that this tendency, still foreign to Hungarians, is why the country needed to take legal steps to protect children from the ideology. 

“The mental and physical development of children is a very fragile thing,” she observed. 

“Teenagers are especially vulnerable to influence — all parents may witness to this.”

The Minister for Families pointed out that children “have limited responsibility for their own actions for a reason,” and there are also reasons why they may not drink alcohol, drive, or vote in elections. Both parents and the state have the obligation to defend children and protect their best interests. She did not want to pass judgment on Portuguese society, however, saying every society is responsible for its own future and “the future of (its) children.”

The right of Hungary to remain Hungarian, populated by Hungarian children rather than immigrants from abroad, was another theme that was discussed in the interview. Novak said Hungarians do not share the “materialistic view” that immigration can solve demographic problems. 

“Rejecting family values and promoting immigration go hand in hand,” she said.  

“If family, childbearing and common heritage have no value, then illegal immigrants do not pose any risk and mass immigration is just a matter of numbers required on the labour market,” she continued.  

“Healthy families are no longer necessary because reproduction is of no importance and immigration can solve demographics. It is a very materialistic view and we do not share this view. If families and reproduction are no longer connected, then family, marriage and sexuality can be whatever you want it to be and are merely a matter of fashion and ideology.”

Novak has been involved in Hungary’s family policies since 2014 and says the nation has been “building a family-friendly country since 2010.” This is to protect Hungarian culture and heritage, which includes the traditional definition of the family, and pass it on to future generations.

“The goal is to enable young couples to realize their family goals on one hand, and on the other, to strengthen families already raising children," she explained. 

To do this, Hungary has created “the most extensive family benefit in the Western world,” Novak said, and 5 percent of the country’s total GDP goes toward supporting families. The more children a family has, the less personal income tax the parents have to pay. 

“Mothers with at least four children are exempt from paying personal income tax for the rest of their lives,” Novak remarked.

There are also supports for working parents, benefits for parents either who stay at home with a child under three, or return to work, and housing subsidies for families. A new law will ensure that women who have children will earn more than they did before giving birth. As a result of all these family-friendly policies, the national fertility rate “has increased by more than 20 percent”, the numbers of marriages are at a “40-year high,” and divorce is at a 60-year low, the Minister for Families reported.

Novak underscored that the strength of society depends on the strength of the family.

“Families are the basic units of any society, the smallest and closest community of all communities,” she said.  

“They are the fabric of our society; if we undo this fabric, our societies as a whole will come apart,” she continued. 

“It is where children experience and learn love, solidarity, but also responsibility and the value of community. Not all children are lucky enough to grow up in a happy family, but it is the interest of society and therefore the duty of the state to help and defend families.”

Novak also pointed out that there is no future for a society that does not want children. Although other European leaders have not faced up to this, the Hungarian government is committed to perpetuating Hungarians.

“A society where people do not want to have children, do not believe it is worthwhile to reproduce, is condemned to death," Novak said. 

“The fact that the fertility rate in all European countries does not meet the replacement fertility says a lot about our values and our socio-economic model. For some reason, European leaders do not want to acknowledge this situation. (They) care about climate change and the future of our planet, but do not care about the fact that there needs to be new generations to give our planet to. This is why we want to give opportunity to Hungarians to have as many children as they want.”

Novak acknowledged that that left-wing voices have been loud and strident against her country, but she took this as sign of her government’s integrity. 

“If we are attacked by the left, it must mean that we are not pursuing leftist ideologies but conservative values; this is what we were elected to do,” she said.

“A few years ago, a Portuguese communist led (an) effort in the European Parliament against Hungary. We have been re-elected twice since then.”

Meanwhile, Novak points out that Hungary has suffered from both communism and socialism, and that it is hard for people who have escaped socialism to understand why it is still “a romantic dream for many in Western Europe.”

“In Hungary, socialist governments have wrecked the country with long lasting consequences in 1919, 1989 and 2009," she said. 
“We feel the effect and suffer the consequences of all three until this day.”

On December 15, 2020, the Hungarian Parliament also amended the country’s constitution to define marriage as being between a man and woman, and passed a law effectively banning adoption by same-sex couples. 

The newly amended text of the Constitution reads: “Hungary protects the institution of marriage as the association between a man and a woman and the family as the basis for the survival of the nation. The foundation of the family is marriage and the parent-child relationship.”

 

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