A group affiliated with the Catholic Church – Alliance For Family – attempted to “super-ban” marriage equality in Slovakia via referendum today.
The ballot posed three questions for voters:
• The first asked voters if marriage should be defined as a union between a man and a woman. This was mostly symbolic, the county had already outlawed same-sex marriage.
• The second asked if same-sex couples should be allowed to adopt.
• The third question asked if parents should have the right to withdraw children from sex ed classes.
All three proposals failed miserably.
For a referendum to pass in Slovakia, a minimum of 50% of registered votes have to participate in the vote. Today’s efforts saw only a scant 21.4% take part.
Several US-based anti-gay groups (National Organization for Marriage, Alliance Defending Freedom, World Congress of Families) openly supported the effort, thus making the utter failure that much more enjoyable.
Only one referendum has passed since Slovakia became a country – the vote to join the European Union.
President Andrej Kiska’s move comes after the Alliance for Family conservative group gathered about 400,000 signatures supporting the vote.
Slovaks will be asked whether they agree that a marriage can be called only a union between a man and a woman, same-sex partners can’t adopt children, and that children wouldn’t have to attend school classes on sex education if their parents don’t agree with them.
Slovakia’s constitutional court ruled last month at Kiska’s request that such a referendum doesn’t violate the constitution, but rejected a question on registered partnership as part of the vote. Kiska said he still has doubts about the referendum, but respected the ruling.
Slovakia, a young country of only 21 years, has held seven similar voter referenda. For passage, more than 50% of the nations voter have to cast a vote. In 21 years, it has only happened once – when the country voted to join the European Union. The others failed to become legal due to low voter turnout.
So, it’s possible this anti-gay move may be more anti-LGBT political theater than reality.
The Parliament of Slovakia voted today, 102 out of 150 lawmakers, to change it’s constitution banning same-sex marriage. Only 18 lawmakers voted against the measure.
Although a 2012 poll showed 47% of Slovaks support civil unions, there is no legal recognition of same-sex relationships in Slovakia. Gay couples are also not allowed to adopt.
In 1992, Czechoslovakia split into the two countries of Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The Czech Republic allows for civil unions and is considered to be one of the more gay friendly countries in Central Europe.