June 5, 2014 | by Michael K. Lavers
Slovak lawmakers approve same-sex marriage ban

Slovakia, gay news, Washington Blade

Slovak LGBT rights advocates on May 28 protested an amendment to their country’s constitution that bans same-sex marriage. (Photo by Hana Fabry)

Slovak lawmakers on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a proposed constitutional amendment that would define marriage as between a man and a woman in the European country.

The Slovak Spectator reported that 102 of the 128 parliamentarians who were present for the vote supported the amendment. The newspaper said members of the ruling Social Democratic Party and the opposition Christian Democratic Movement spearheaded the proposal.

Members of Inakost, a Slovak LGBT advocacy group, on May 28 gathered in Bratislava, the country’s capital, to protest against the proposed amendment.

Inakost Executive Director Martin Macko in a press release described the vote as an “extraordinary sad report on the state of democracy in Slovakia.”

“The deputies are making an effort to protect from the imagined threat coming from a small minority by de facto declaring all families not established through marriage not worthy of protection,” he said.

Gabi Calleja, co-chair of the ILGA-Europe Executive Board, also criticized Slovak lawmakers over the amendment.

“This is pure discrimination and conscious limitation of the rights of same-sex and unmarried different sex couples,” said Calleja. “This also affects the rights and well-being of children born into such families. This is a significant setback for human rights in Slovakia.”

Slovakia is the latest European country to approve a same-sex marriage ban.

Croatian voters last December amended their country’s constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman. The new Hungarian constitution that explicitly bans nuptials between gays and lesbians took effect in 2012.

Latvian President Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga in 2005 signed a constitutional amendment that defined marriage as between a man and a woman in her Baltic country.

Gays and lesbians are able to legally marry in Iceland, England, Wales, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain and Portugal.

Scotland’s same-sex marriage law is slated to go into effect later this year, while a final vote on a gay nuptials bill in the Luxembourgish Parliament is expected in the coming weeks. A referendum on whether to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples in Ireland is scheduled to take place in 2015.

A law extending civil unions and adoption rights to same-sex couples in Malta received final approval in April.

Michael K. Lavers has been a staff writer for the Washington Blade since May 2012. The passage of Maryland's same-sex marriage law, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the burgeoning LGBT rights movement in Latin America and the consecration of gay New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson are among the many stories he has covered since his career began in 2002. Follow Michael

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