Slovakia: Anti-LGBT Referendum Failed Due to Low Voter Turnout

Flag_of_Slovakia.svg 2Low voter numbers in Slovakia yesterday, less than fifty percent, led to the failure to pass a referendum to amend the Slovakian Constitution. The amendments were to reinforce the existing same-sex marriage ban, prohibit same-sex couples from adopting, and allow students not to attend classes discussing sex or euthanasia.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) welcomed the news, saying the amendments in themselves were harmful to the LGBT community.

The HRC stated:

“There is always a risk, as we have seen in other cases, that fundamental civil and human rights of a minority can be removed or abridged by the will of the majority because of hatred towards that group.

American anti-LGBT groups and individuals, including the Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), supported the referendum.  When Slovakia’s constitutional court was deciding the legality of holding the referendum, ADF provided legal support and filed an amicus brief to advocate in favor of it. With an annual budget of more than $45 million, ADF is one of the largest American organizations exporting anti-LGBT hate and bigotry abroad”.

The amendments would have strengthened the 2014 ban on same-sex marriage, and also ban same-sex adoptions, although Slovakia has a high rate of orphaned children living in institutions, and so it would make sense to allow more of those children to be adopted by gay couples.

According to the HRC:

“Though an amendment to Slovakia’s constitution banned same-sex marriage in 2014, this referendum was orchestrated in order to reinforce the constitutional change, as well as bar same-sex couples from adopting. The referendum asked voters to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, ban same-sex couples from adopting children, and make sex education and classes that discuss euthanasia non-compulsory. Initially the referendum included a question about the permissibility of same-sex civil unions. Slovakia’s constitutional court rejected this question. Though the government does not officially recognize same-sex couples, the court ruled that civil unions are not a matter that can be adjudicated upon by a national referendum”.

 

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