‘Heartbreak’ for gay Slovenians as public votes against equal marriage
LGBT activists have reacted with shock – after the Slovenian public overwhelmingly rejected same-sex marriage in a referendum.
The Central European country’s Parliament passed a bill to legalise same-sex marriage earlier this year – but a referendum was forced after campaigners against the law gathered 80,00 signatures.
Campaigners initially had high hopes that equality might win out in the referendum, held last week, given the landslide success of equal marriage in Ireland’s vote in May.
However, hopes were dashed – as the public overwhelmingly voted to reject gay equality.
392,635 votes (63.53%) were cast against same-sex marriage, and just 225,435 (36.47%) in favour.
Especially painfully, the margin mirrors the landmark Irish vote – but in the opposite direction.
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LGBT campaigners have conceded defeat on the issue, showing upset at the “huge disappointment” for the country’s same-sex couples and families.
Brian Sheehan of ILGA-Europe said: “Naturally, this is a huge disappointment for rainbow families in Slovenia.
“But ILGA-Europe want to say thank you to all the thousands of voters who took the time to come out and cast their ballot in support of equality.
“Even though marriage equality isn’t a reality just yet, their dedication to the cause shows that great progress has been made.
“We have to remember that when this bill originally passed in March, it had impressive political support. The appetite is there for change.”
Evelyne Paradis, Executive Director of ILGA-Europe, added: “Right now, the optimism of March 2015 feels like a more distant memory.
“However, we will not lose hope. In 2005, Slovenia became the first post-Communist country to legally recognise same-sex partnership.
“It has led the way before and can do so again. We will continue to support our members in Slovenia to work towards greater equality for LGBTI families.”
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