Slovenia opens marriage for same-sex couples

01-02-2023

Southern Europe

Lennart Nijenhuis, CNE.news

Slovenian parliament meeting in Ljubljana. Photo AFP, Jure Makovec

Same-sex couples in Slovenia can now seal their marriage officially. An amendment that enables them to do so came into force on Tuesday. Thereby, Slovenia becomes the first ex-Soviet nation that opens marriage to all. Many still define it as a union between a man and a woman.

The amendment changed the Family Code, which up till now, defined marriage as a life union of a husband and wife. Now, the clause reads that it is a life union of two persons.

Furthermore, the Family Code allows same-sex couples to adopt children from now on. That means that Slovenian law does not distinguish anymore between heterosexual couples and homosexual couples, no matter whether they live in marriage or another form of cohabitation, RTV Slo reports.

The amendments to the Family Code mean that current partnerships can be turned into marriages quite easily. Partners living in a registered partnership have six months to declare to the registry that they want to become married partners.

Rainbow colours

Especially politicians from the Left Party and members of the LGBT organisation Legebitra are happy with the amendments. They called Monday a special day, RTV Slo reports. Luka Mesec, Minister of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, says that this amendment does not mean that anyone loses anything, "but this minority, which has been discriminated against throughout history, gains".

To celebrate the introduction of marriage for all, the Ministry of Labour and the government decorated their social networks with rainbow colours. Also, a rainbow flag has been raised at the Ministry building.

Referendum

The way to open up marriage for same-sex couples was one with many obstacles. Only last month, the Constitutional Court decided that a planned referendum was not allowed to go through, Religion.orf writes. The conservative citizen's movement "It's about the children" wanted to hold a referendum against the decision of the Parliament to allow homosexual couples to marry and adopt children. However, seven out of eight judges ruled that this referendum would be unconstitutional.

In May 2022, the Constitutional Court forced the Slovenian Parliament to open marriage for same-sex couples. According to the judges, the legislation at the time discriminated against gay couples, Spiegel wrote. The Court ordered the Slovenian Parliament to change the law within six months.

In response, the government drafted an amendment to the Family Code. In October, the National Assembly passed the proposal with 48 MPs in favour and 29 against.

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