Pope urges Slovenians to vote against gay marriage


pope_francis_urges_slovenians_to_vote_against_gay_marriageAs Slovenians began voting on the issue of same-sex marriage this week, Pope Francis urged them to reject marriage equality.

The country’s citizens are deciding, thorough a referendum, whether or not to support a law passed by Parliament in March that legalised same-sex marriage.

The referendum was initiated by a conservative group called “Children Are at Stake”, backed by the Catholic Church, which collected more than 80,000 signatures; thereby forcing the poll to take place.

While Parliament tried to prevent the referendum on the basis that the constitution specifically protects fundamental rights, Slovenia’s Constitutional Court ruled that it should go ahead.

On Wednesday, Pope Francis spoke out against same-sex marriage at the Vatican’s St Peter’s Square while addressing a group of Slovenian pilgrims.

“I wish to encourage all Slovenians, especially those in public capacity, to preserve the family as the basic unit of society,” he said.

Although Francis has hinted at a willingness to be more accepting of gay people and asserted that he will not judge them, he and the Catholic Church remain fundamentally opposed to same-sex relationships and especially gay marriage.

Boris Dittrich, LGBT Rights Advocacy Director at Human Rights Watch, condemned the Slovenian referendum. “The rights of a minority, particularly to equality, shouldn’t be subject to removal by the whim of the majority,” he said.

“The right to marry is a fundamental right, as is the right not to be discriminated against, and same-sex couples should not be denied the right to marriage equality,” Dittrich added.

Preliminary results of the referendum are expected to be announced on 20 December.

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