(CNN)Hungary has banned people from legally changing gender, in a move rights groups said could lead to further intolerance and discrimination against the LGBTQ community in the country.
Hungary bans people from legally changing gender
The parliament voted Tuesday to stop transgender and intersex people from changing their gender on identity documents.
Lawmakers voted -- with 134 votes in favor, 56 votes against and four abstentions -- to define gender on the basis of "sex at birth," as registered on a birth certificate.
Amnesty International researcher Krisztina Tamás-Sáróy said in a statement published online: "This decision pushes Hungary back towards the dark ages and tramples the rights of transgender and intersex people. It will not only expose them to further discrimination but will also deepen an already intolerant and hostile environment faced by the LGBTI community."
Hungarian rights group Hatter Society said the law violated a constitutional fundamental right and had been opposed by the European Parliament and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. It said LGBTI organizations were now requesting the law be sent for review to the Constitutional Court.
The Constitutional Court is the principal organ protecting the democratic state through the rule of law, and decides on the constitutionality of acts of parliament and other cases.
While Hungary is a member of the European Union, Prime Minister Viktor Orban has been forging his own path in recent years, passing a rash of laws that EU leaders have warned will undermine the country's democracy.
However, the government defended the law, telling CNN in an emailed statement that the law "does not affect men's and women's right to freely experience and exercise their identities as they wish.
"In no way does the relevant section of the bill that some people criticize prevent any person from exercising their fundamental rights arising from their human dignity or from living according their identity, just as the state cannot normatively instruct anybody what to think."