Slovakia: Referendum to reinforce same-sex marriage ban fails
Slovakia’s referendum to ban same-sex marriage and adoption has been declared invalid, as it failed to meet the required turnout.
The central European country went to the polls yesterday to vote on measures that would reinforce the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, ban same-sex adoption, and block schools from teaching sex education classes if parents object.
Due to the wording of the referendum, the only choices were either adopting new anti-gay measures or not – there was no option to actually allow same-sex marriage and adoption in the country.
However, the entire poll has today been declared invaid, as the turnout for the referendum was just 21.4% – well below the 50% required to pass the measures.
Equality groups had encouraged people to boycott the vote, meaning the measure was favoured by 90% of those who did turn out.
A statement from gay rights group ILGA-Europe says: “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.
“This statement at the ballot boxes can now be the catalyst for real change in Slovakia.
“ILGA-Europe regrets that Slovakian authorities agreed that human rights issues affecting a minority group should be decided by a popular majority vote and was saddened to see that the referendum campaign was conducted in an atmosphere of animosity and confusion.
“As expected in a referendum campaign on rights of a minority that is subject to strong prejudice, there were many reported incidents of intolerant arguments, divisive statements and thinly veiled hate speech.
“For this reason, LGBTI activists and their allies distanced themselves from the campaign, in the hope that a more reasoned discussion could take place in the wake of the result.”