Backroom deal rules out same-sex unions in Slovak constitution

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Today, Slovak MPs from SMER (Social-Democrats) and KDH (Christian-Democrats) voted to define marriage as a ‘unique bond between a man and a woman’ in the Constitution. Ruling party SMER agreed to the demand of opposition party KDH in exchange of their support for a judicial reform.

Slovak flag102 parliamentarians voted in favour of the constitutional amendment, while 18 voted against.

Ruling party SMER feared their proposal for a reform of the judiciary would meet opposition, and courted social conservatives by adopting one of their long-time demands.

The Constitution was amended to make marriage equality less likely in the future.

This amendment seeks to go further than banning marriage equality. Its explanatory referendum specifies that “it will be impossible for the rights and duties associated with marriage to be conferred in any way other than a legally recognised union between a man and a woman”.

Although only in an explanatory memorandum, the statement seeks to outlaw any form of union for same-sex couples.

The two parties purposedly sought to avoid public debate. Discussions between SMER and KDH took place behind closed doors; no public hearing took place; and MPs from other parties were handed a copy of the agreed amendment just hours before its discussion in committee, on 27 May.

Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-President of the LGBT Intergroup, reacted: “This amendment doesn’t ‘defend’ marriage; its sole purpose is to limit the rights of lesbian and gay couples. It will have consequences for all other forms of families, like single parents or unmarried couples.”

“I am dismayed by the outcome of the vote, as well as the undemocratic way this backroom deal was struck. This shows how afraid SMER and KDH were of a public discussion—and quite rightly. A public debate would have provoked a loud protest against such a backward move.”

“I will show my solidarity by taking part in Bratislava Pride on June 28th.”

Michael Cashman MEP, Co-President of the LGBT Intergroup, added: “Equality is a defining element of a civilised and inclusive society.”

“While in many countries, Social-Democrats were a defining force in fostering equality for all, in Slovakia SMER decided to work with arch-conservatives to populist ends. It’s a disgrace, and they should be ashamed of trampling the very values they claim to defend.”


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