- June 6, 2014
Post submitted by Yushuang Sun, HRC Global Engagement Intern
On June 4, the Slovakian parliament approved a constitutional amendment that bans same-sex marriage. The amendment, introduced jointly by the ruling socialist Smer party and the Christian Democratic (KDH), defines marriage as a “unique bond between a man and a woman.”
The amendment also states that “it will be impossible for the rights and duties associated with marriage to be conferred in any way other than legally recognized union between a man and a woman”, restricting same-sex couples from seeking protections.
Parliamentarians voted 102-18 with three abstentions for the amendment.
The Prime Minister Robert Fico claimed that “the amendment will not bring about any drastic changes; it only seals in the constitution what is already defined by law.”
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.”
On May 28, when parliament started to debate the amendment, LGBT activists organized a protest in front of the parliament building to oppose the narrow marriage definition. They voiced concerns that the passage of the amendment would make it impossible for marriage equality in the future.
Slovakia, predominantly Roman Catholic, is deviating from a majority of European Union countries to recognize same-sex marriage or civil unions. There is no legal recognition of same-sex couples currently in Slovakia. Bills to recognize same-sex partnerships were introduced in 1997, 2000, and 2012, but all were rejected. However, public opinion has become more favorable to granting rights for same-sex couples. According to a poll conducted in 2012, 47 percent of the respondents supported civil unions for same-sex couples.