Hungarian politicians have approved a new constitution which bans gay marriage.

The document restricts marriage to heterosexuals and does not protect LGBT people from discrimination.

It also appears to ban abortion by saying that foetuses will be protected from conception onwards.

Yesterday, 262 members of the 386-seat parliament voted for the new constitution. Forty-four voted against and the opposition left-wing Socialists and green LMP party boycotted the vote.

The current constitution dates back to 1949 and leading party Fidesz has argued that a new one is vital for economic growth.

Lawmakers said the constitution was based on the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights but gay rights activists have questioned why it does not mention discrimination protections for LGBT people.

Other characteristics such as gender and race are protected.

The Hungarian organisation of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights said this decision “expresses a preference for an explicitly defined family model, a certain way of life and conveys the message that it does not wish to become the constitution of those who wish to pursue a different way of life”.

Amnesty International warned that the omission would contradict international human rights laws and the country’s own equal opportunity rules.

The restriction on marriage would prevent gay couples gaining marriage equality in the future, it added.

Hungary allows gay couples to register their partnerships but does not currently recognise gay marriage or allow gay couples to adopt. Since 2002, it has had an equal age of consent and gay people may serve in the military.

This year’s Budapest Pride was almost banned when authorities claimed that it would cause too much traffic disruption. A court overturned the ban after gay groups appealed.