Title: Slovenia and Marriage Equality Credit: Craig Young Comment Thursday 14th January 2016 - 11:59am1452725940 Article: 17778 Rights
Like Ireland in May 2015, the former Yugoslavian constituent republic of Slovenia held a referendum on the issue of marriage equality. Like much of the rest of Eastern Europe, religious social conservatism prevailed and opponents of marriage equality prevailed. How did this happen? Slovenia was the only former Yugoslavian constituent republic to escape the tragedy of the Balkan Wars that consumed Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo for most of the nineties, primarily due to its distance from Belgrade. Consequently, it was allowed to secede and remained free from the territorial incursions, ethnic cleansing and religious nationalist fanaticism's that consumed its southeastern neighbours. In 1992, it was recognised as a sovereign state by the European Union, while in the same year, it joined the United Nations. In 2004, it joined the European Union and NATO, while in 2007, it joined the Eurozone European currency zone and in 2010, it became a member of the OECD. As for LGBT rights, devolution saw Slovenia's communist legislature vote to decriminalise male homosexuality in 1977. After independence from Yugoslavia, it moved to pass anti-discrimination legislation (1998), which banned discrimination against lesbians and gay men when it came to accommodation, employment and service provision. In 2006, it passed registered partnership legislation, which precipitated a decade-long debate on the question of marriage equality and inclusive adoption reform. In 2009, the Slovenian Parliament passed a Family Code, which gave registered lesbian and gay partners statutory relationship equality and coparent adoptive parental responsibilities, but stopped short of full inclusive adoption reform, or designation of registered partnerships as non-discriminatory marriage. In 2011, a referendum voted down the Family Code, returning the status quo to that which prevailed after 2006. In March 2015, the Slovenian National Assembly had a second try at marriage equality, but opponents succeeded in gathering enough signatures for a petition that triggered a binding referendum in December 2015, which led to history repeating itself. Given Slovenia's embrace of an open market economy, the global economic crisis hit it hard after 2008, which may have led to the resurgence of right-wing political and social movements, as has also occurred in Poland, Hungary and even the relatively liberal Czech Republic. As matters stand, Slovenia's current situation is akin to that of Australia and Northern Ireland- there are significant progressive elements within Slovenian society and widespread support for reform, but the binding referendum impasse once again epitomises why core issues of human rights and civil liberties should never be subjected to the malice, mendacity and propaganda of opportunists and hatemongers. Other Slovenian referendum have also had right-wing outcomes- unmarried women cannot access IVF (2004), ethnic pluralism and minority civil rights were rejected in another referendum (2004), part-time workers have fewer industrial relations rights than full-time counterparts (2011), and so on. It isn't only LGBT rights that are affected,as one can see from this list. And there, for now, the matter rests- unless the Slovenian legislature realises that it is immoral and discriminatory for human rights and civil liberties to be arbitrarily removed through discriminatory and reactionary populist fiat. Recommended: Wikipedia/LGBT rights in Slovenia: LGBT_rights_in_Slovenia Craig Young - 14th January 2016    
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