AZ EGY BÁN GYA HOW TO PUT EQUALITY INTO PRACTICE? - MEK

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AZ EGY BÁN GYA HOW TO PUT EQUALITY INTO PRACTICE? - MEK

III. Development of sexual orientation related anti-discrimination…In the first public version of the concept of the would-be equaltreatment act – published on the homepage of the Ministry of Justice inNovember 2002 – all fourteen protected categories listed in theEmployment Directive could be found. (These are the following: race,skin colour, ethnicity, language, disability, state of health, religion,political or other views, sex, sexual orientation, age, social origin,circumstances of wealth and birth, and other situations.)By the time the draft bill on “equal treatment and the promotionof equal opportunities” reached the stage of parliamentary discussion atthe end of 2003, additional categories such as family status, motherhood(pregnancy) or fatherhood, gender identity, part-time or limited periodemployment status, membership of interest representing bodies, wereinserted into the list of protected categories. The bill passed in December2003 and came into force on January 27 th 2004.According to experts who worked on the preparation of theconceptual framework of the Hungarian Equal Treatment Act, theconcept of the new law closely follows the practice of the HungarianConstitutional Court, the provisions of relevant Hungarian legislation,and the European Union’s requirements. These experts emphasisedthat according to the European Commission the main goal of theEuropean anti-discrimination legislation is to provide for effectiveprotection from discrimination and one of the means to achieve thisgoal, perhaps the most desirable one, is to introduce a separate antidiscriminationact with general effect (cf. Bitskey–Gyulavári, 2004:19).Though in the “old” European Union member states we can findexamples of having general anti-discrimination acts (as in theNetherlands) as well as applying different acts to promote equaltreatment of various disadvantaged social groups (as in the UnitedKingdom and Ireland), in Hungary it was decided to go for the first,“more desirable” option. In other – present and future – accessioncountries we can observe the same development. New general antidiscriminationacts were introduced in Romania in 2000 and in Slovakiain 2004, while in Bulgaria they are already working on one.45

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