In a major blow to LGBT equality in Slovenia, an overwhelming majority of voters have chosen to reject a law legalising same-sex marriage.
According to results released on Sunday, around 63% of those who voted in the referendum last week expressed their opposition to marriage equality.
This means that amendments to the Marriage and Family Relations Act, allowing same-sex marriage, that were approved by Parliament in March will now no longer come into force.
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.
“Naturally, this is a huge disappointment for rainbow families in Slovenia,” said Brian Sheehan, Co-Chair of ILGA-Europe’s Executive Board, “But ILGA-Europe want to say thank you to all the thousands of voters who took the time to come out and cast their ballot in support of equality.
“Even though marriage equality isn’t a reality just yet, their dedication to the cause shows that great progress has been made. We have to remember that when this bill originally passed in March, it had impressive political support. The appetite is there for change,” said Sheehan.
Around 35.6 percent of eligible voters turned out for the referendum, above the minimum threshold of 20% required in a referendum .
While full marriage equality remains out of reach for same-sex couples, their relationships can be recognised through registered partnerships, which have been legal since 2006.