Slovenia to vote on homosexual rights in referendum

LJUBLJANA Thu Mar 22, 2012 7:54am EDT

A man applies the finishing touches on a banner during a gathering to oppose a law that allows same-sex couples to adopt children, in Skofja Loka January 3, 2012. Family and children's rights activists are trying to gather 40,000 signatures from people supporting a referendum to repeal the law. REUTERS/Srdjan Zivulovic

A man applies the finishing touches on a banner during a gathering to oppose a law that allows same-sex couples to adopt children, in Skofja Loka January 3, 2012. Family and children's rights activists are trying to gather 40,000 signatures from people supporting a referendum to repeal the law.

Credit: Reuters/Srdjan Zivulovic

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LJUBLJANA (Reuters) - Slovenia will decide on Sunday whether to allow homosexuals to adopt the children of their partners after a conservative group forced a national referendum on the issue.

The previous parliament, dominated by a centre-left coalition, passed a new family law in June 2011 but the Civil Initiative for Family and Children's Rights challenged it, arguing that homosexuals should not receive adoption rights.

By February the group, which enjoys the support of the Catholic Church, had collected the 42,000 signatures necessary for a national referendum.

Opinion polls show voters are likely to narrowly endorse the law.

Under the legislation, gay couples do not have the right to adopt children from a third party but conservative groups want it annulled because it allows homosexuals to adopt the children of their partners.

"We are against the new family law because it does not recognize the exceptional importance of women and men in giving birth, the personal development and upbringing of children, and does not bring new rights to children," Ales Primc, head of the civil group which initiated the referendum, told Reuters.

"It also paves a way for a homosexual education in the school system and we believe such an education should be followed only in agreement with parents."

The small Adriatic country which joined the European Union in 2004 is relatively tolerant of homosexual couples, who have been able to formally register their relationship since 2006.

Last year a court sentenced three Slovenians to up to seven months in jail for attacking a gay activist in Ljubljana in 2009.

Human rights ombudsman Zdenka Cebasek Travnik told Reuters the public was unnecessarily focused on the issue of gay adoption rights because the law also contained "many, many things that are distinctively in favor of all children".

The law envisages a special ombudsman for children's rights and is expected to speed up court processes on matters concerning children's rights. It also simplifies divorce for childless couples.

Slovenians have rejected five laws in a row in referendums over the past 16 months, which paved the way for parliament to oust Prime Minister Borut Pahor's government in September.

The new conservative cabinet of Prime Minister Janez Jansa, which took office last month after a December election, is not participating in the referendum campaign although three of the five coalition parties oppose the family law.

(Reporting By Marja Novak; editing by Zoran Radosavljevic and Robert Woodward)

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Comments (2)
JanC1945 wrote:
The anti-gays have hijacked the family argument to hide their squalid prejudices. Protection of children comes as a joke from the Catholic Church riven by scandals and surely on present evidence the world’s worst organisation concerning the abuse of children. (But we can always wait whilst we wait for future disclosures from other faiths and sects. In have no doubt they will come, this is what happens with self-serving religious bodies who want to control children’s minds. Remember Jesus’ warning about millstones.) These folk miss one important fact. Every gay comes from a family, all gays want to be accepted by theirs, and thus by society based on the family, shimple. Many want a family life. Children. Simple as that. These people are always the ones to condemn. Jesus, squatting and writing in the sand after they shamefacedly drifted away asked the woman who had condemned her? On reply “no one”, he said “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” He didn’t say, do not commit adultery any more, he said ‘no sin’ which includes tat of pride. He replaced old laws with a new moral framework requiring us to think about our actions and how we condemn others. For example, he was quite specific about how we treat ‘the least’ amongst us. That is a relative argument – who is my ‘least’? For these folk who condemn using the old law, one suspects gays are pretty much ‘least’.

Mar 22, 2012 10:15am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Eideard wrote:
One of the advantages of our tripartite division of government is that allows the judiciary to overrule populist expression of bigotry – even when they’re in the majority.

Of course, that still requires elected politicians to get off their rusty dusty and further validate progress. Something that’s nigh unto impossible when half of the clowns are elected on the basis of bigotry and backwardness, fear and foolishness.

Mar 22, 2012 10:36am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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