In a referendum held in Slovenia yesterday (Sunday 20 December) the country voted to overturn an amendment to the Marriage & Family Relations Act, which had allowed same-sex marriage and adoption from last March.
The mainly Catholic and previously communist country of 2 million citizens could have allowed the legalised equal marriage to stand. However, in what was a very low turnout for the referendum (36%) the people decided against. The government were in favour of gay marriage, but did not campaign for it to be upheld. The conservative Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) the party in opposition, were against the law.
Anti-gay marriage supporters, urged on by the Catholic Church, had used ‘Children are at stake’ as their slogan, and petitioned for the referendum. In a result that saw 63% vote against equal marriage, the amendment to change the wording of marriage as between two people, instead of between a man and a woman, was overturned.
By referendum rules, 20% of voters, in Slovenia’s case 343,000, needed to vote against the motion, and this figure was exceeded by 40,000 approximately.
All eight electoral units rejected marriage equality, with 51.4% against in Ljubljana centre, to 73% against in Ptuj in eastern Slovenia.
Yes supporters have pledged to continue the battle to bring marriage equality to Slovenia. United Left (ZL) MP, Violeta Tomic, stated:
“We will persevere. Human rights are something that needs to be fought for constantly”.
The amendment allowing equal marriage, passed in March, did not come into effect, because the anti-gay group ‘For Children’ went to the highest court in Slovenia to force a referendum.
Couples in Slovenia have been allowed to register their partnership since 2006, and can adopt their partner’s child, but not a child from outside the relationship.