Slovakia Becomes the Seventh EU Country To Ban Same-Sex Marriage

Published: June 5, 2014

The parliament of Slovakia adopted a constitutional amendment prohibiting legal recognition of same-sex couples on Wednesday.

This makes it the third European Union member state to ban same-sex couples from marrying since 2012, bringing the total number of member states with such bans to seven. An explanatory memo that accompanied the bill stated it was also designed to make it “impossible for the rights and duties associated with marriage to be conferred in any way other than a legally recognized union between a man and a woman.”

The law was passed overwhelmingly, with the votes of 102 of the 128 members of parliament. The proposal caught LGBT rights activists off guard, because the ruling Social Democrats joined the opposition Christian Democrats in supporting it. The amendment was part of a deal to get through a government-backed amendment reforming the judiciary, which was also adopted in the same vote as the marriage amendment.

“It was really a surprise,” said Martin Macko of the Slovakian LGBTI rights organization Inakost. “It never was on the agenda of the ruling party…. Conservatives tried to adopt this amendment before, but it never received too much support.”

The drive for the amendment was sparked in December when the Slovakian conference of Catholic bishops issued a pastoral letter decrying same-sex marriage as “”sodomitic mockery” and gender equality as part of “the culture of death.” An organization called the Alliance for Family then began collecting signatures for a ballot measure that would ban recognition for same-sex unions, adoption by same-sex couples, and allow parents to withdraw their children from sex-education classes, but instead parliament moved forward with the amendment adopted on Wednesday.

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