Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A victory for family values

Slovenian referendum rejects same-sex marriage

Last Sunday, Slovenians rejected a law introducing same-sex marriage with a wide majority. 63% of participants voted no with those approving the bill reaching only 37%. Therefore, the Bill which had been adopted last March will not enter into force. This referendum comes three years after the previous vote, when almost 55 percent of voters opposed giving more rights to same – sex couples.

The rejected law was put forward by the ZL party (GUE) and supported by the centre-left governing coalition. It would give LGBTI couples the right to adopt children  formally which would de facto recognise marriage as an institution equal to marriage. About 63.4 percent of voters rejected the law in a referendum while 36.6 percent supported it according to preliminary results published by the State Electoral Commission. The Slovenian Parliament passed a bill last March giving same-sex couples the right to marry and adopt children but the law has not yet been put into effect enforced because a civil society group called “For Children” appealed to the top court, calling for a referendum. The constitutional court of Slovenia allowed the referendum to take place.

In another referendum on a similar question in 2012, almost 55 percent of voters in Slovenia opposed giving more rights to same-sex couples. Since then, the referendum legislation made the rejection of laws via referendums more difficult, adding another condition to have not only a majority, but also 20% of the vote-eligible population voting against a law in order to reject it. The “For Children” NGO stated that:  "[w]e are against the law that would deny the basic right of a child to have a mother and a father". They also noted that they hope no one would see this result as a defeat. On the other hand ZL (GUE) made a statement after the results were known, saying that "this is not the end, this kind of law will be adopted sooner or later.” In Slovenia gay couples have been able to formally register their relationship already since 2006 and are also allowed to adopt children from a partner's previous relationship - though not other children.

The overwhelming NO of the Slovenians sends a clear message to the European political elites showing that ordinary citizens should always be taken into account and that decision makers should respect their judgement. Legislation on marriage is and should remain a national competence. Therefore, the EU should stop exerting pressure on governments to introduce legislation that infringes on the sovereign rights of Member States.              

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