SLOVAKIA BANS GAY MARRIAGE IN ‘BACKROOM DEAL’

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slovakia_bans_same_sex_marriage_in_backroom_dealIn what’s been described as a “backroom deal,” MPs in the Slovakian parliament have voted to outlaw same-sex marriage in the European country.

One Wednesday, 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.

According to the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT Rights, the ruling SMER party agreed to vote for the amendment in return for the opposition conservative KDH party supporting its plans for judicial reforms.

Discussions between two parties reportedly took place behind closed doors and no public hearings were held. Over 100 parliamentarians voted in favour of the constitutional revision, while 18 voted against.

An explanatory memorandum to the amendment states 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.”

“This amendment doesn’t ‘defend’ marriage; its sole purpose is to limit the rights of lesbian and gay couples,” Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-President of the LGBT Intergroup, said in reaction to the news. “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,” he added.

Same-sex relationships have no legal recognition in Slovakia. A 2012 poll found that 47 percent of Slovaks are in favour of same-sex civil unions.

Michael Cashman MEP, Co-President of the LGBT Intergroup, commented: “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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