February 7, 2015 at 10:42 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Slovak marriage, gay adoption referendum fails

Slovakia, gay news, Washington Blade

Slovak LGBT rights advocates last May protested an amendment to their country’s constitution that bans same-sex marriage. A referendum on the issue on Saturday failed because of insufficient voter turnout. (Photo by Hana Fabry)

A referendum on proposed amendments to the Slovak constitution that would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman and banned gays and lesbians from adopting children failed on Saturday because of insufficient voter turnout.

The Slovak Spectator reported the referendum on the proposals failed because only 21.4 percent of eligible voters cast ballots.

Slovak law required at least 50 percent turnout in order for a referendum to prove valid.

The Slovak Spectator said nearly 95 percent of voters who cast ballots on Saturday backed the proposed amendment. The newspaper reported 92 percent of voters supported the gay adoption ban.

Pope Francis endorsed referendum

The referendum took place nearly a year after Slovak lawmakers overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment that defines marriage in the Central European country as a “unique bond between a man and a woman.”

Pope Francis last week urged Slovak voters to support the marriage and gay adoption amendments. Billboards highlighting the pontiff’s position appeared throughout the country ahead of the failed referendum.

“The referendum showed that people consider the family important, but that they do not see the same-sex families as a threat to traditional families,” Martin Macko, executive director of Inakost, a Slovak LGBT advocacy group, told the Washington Blade.

“Despite attempts by anti-equality campaigners and various organizations (from both inside and outside Slovakia) to marginalize LGBTI families, the majority of the Slovakian public rejected their controversial tactics,” said ILGA-Europe in a statement. “Today’s result confirms that the electorate saw through the homophobic propaganda and were not willing to be part of a movement that discriminates against their fellow citizens.”

Same-sex couples are able to legally marry in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Spain, Portugal, England, Wales, Scotland and Iceland.

Finnish lawmakers last November narrowly approved a bill that would allow gays and lesbians to legally marry in the country. A referendum on whether to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples in Ireland is slated to take place in May.

The Maltese Parliament last April approved a civil unions and gay adoption bill. Estonia last October became the first former Soviet republic to legally recognize same-sex partnerships.

The Austrian Constitutional Court last month extended joint adoption rights to same-sex couples.

Macedonian lawmakers in January overwhelmingly approved a proposed constitutional amendment that would define marriage as between a man and a woman in the former Yugoslav republic. Croatian voters in December 2013 overwhelmingly backed a similar gay nuptials ban.

Hungary and Latvia also define marriage in their countries’ respective constitutions as between a man and a woman.

“From our point of view, Slovakia is prepared to adopt specific legislation for legal recognitions of same-sex couples,” Macko told the Blade. “There have been several proposals regarding this issue, some of which have already been discussed in parliament.”

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

1 Comment
    Why not have a public dialogue on the medical safety of Sodomy, gay and straight, and ask these two simple medical questions?

    That is, Doesn't the medical community recommend that you, "Wash your hands after you go to the bathroom."?

    Yet, now there are some in the medical community that now say it's OK to "Sleep with the waste that gets flushed down in the toilet?" and that it's possible to live a perfectly normal life.

    Additionally, the same can be said that there are some in the medical community that now say it's OK to "Lick the toilet bowl" and that it's also possible to live a perfectly normal life.

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