How we registered our civil union – our experience and tips for registration

I still remember the day pretty well when we heard it on the evening news: it is now a law that same-sex partners can make a civil union. Despite my family’s mean opinions like “well, that’s just what we needed” it was a pleasant feeling for me, and I was wondering if I would ever do it. Would I be able to get married as a lesbian in a few years?

Five quick years later, I was standing in front of the information desk of the local government office, embarrassing the reception lady with my questions.

Government office in Zugló

My partner was already living abroad, so the administration became my task. I was asking about where I have to stand in line if I want to register a domestic partnership when I was asked “Do you want to get married or what?” The question made me tense. The only way I could make them magically understand was the sentence “my partner is a woman, so am I”. After a short while, I was checking the details of the registration with the registrar. Fortunately, the system was so flexible that we could get a date for two months later. We also needed a report of our will, which we could only get a week before our date, because we both had to sign it in front of a registrar.


Help with the administration

I prepared myself for administration with the help of Kormányzati Portál (Government Website) where you can find detailed information about how, when and where to arrange everything. Another site which was established later, Kormányablak is even more detailed and easier to understand.

The documents we needed to take were our identity cards, residence cards and birth certificates, among with some patience and money. Establishing a domestic partnership is tax-exempt (free). We had to pay a sum of 10.000 forints because we didn’t turn to our residential government. You might want to consider asking for extra services (such as drinking champagne, lighting a candle, walking to music, etc) which you have to pay for.

What I learned from our experience was that you need to be patient with the administration process. The registrar you meet might not have any experience with a civil union, so in a few cases you will need a more detailed explanation.


The ceremony

It was a warm, sunny afternoon when we arrived to the location with our two “best ladies”. We were pretty excited until they told us that the registrar was called somewhere else by duty. My opinion is that it would have been their responsibility and duty to show up at our ceremony which we booked them for. However, we didn’t want to ruin this important moment, so we just agreed to do it with another registrar. If you are planning to register a civil union, my advice would be to find a registrar that does the ceremony willingly, in order to avoid the surprise we had to face. The new registrar was very kind, so we didn’t mind the change after all. Our ceremony didn’t include any extra services, it was short, simple, but still beautiful.

A ceremónia a kérhető extráktól mentes, rövid, egyszerű, de mégis gyönyörű volt. Először az anyakönyvvezető irodájába irányítottak minket, ahol a két tanúnak és nekünk is igazolnunk kellett a személyazonosságunkat, majd mind az öten átvonultunk a házzasságkötő terembe. A Himnuszt követően az ünnepélyes fogadalomtételre került sor, majd az élettársak és a tanúk anyakönyvi aláírására következett. Végül az anyakönyvvezető hivatalosan is bejegyzett élettársakká nyilvánított minket, és rögtön megkaptuk az anyakönyvi kivonatot is.


But why?

A few acquaintances asked why we chose to registrate our partnership. “Why did you need the paper, isn’t it enough that you love each other?” These questions are equally rude to us as they would be if you asked a married couple who love each other why they chose to get married. My answer is because we are not allowed to get married yet.

Thanks to the registration, we are considered legal relatives to each other, which makes our everyday life easier in a lot of ways. We are living in Germany, the advantages here are quite evident, like joint taxation or joint insurances. In Germany, it is legal for same sex couples to get married since 2017 October 1st, and the public opinion is quite positive about the previously accepted civil union. This is why my favourite thing about being in a domestic partnership is that I get to introduce my partner as “meine Frau”, which means: my wife.


Translated by Éva Csermendy

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