The Slovenian National Assembly has just voted in favor of changes to laws that give same-sex couples the right to marry and adopt, making it the first country in Eastern Europe to do so. This is a historic victory for the LGBTQ+ community in Slovenia; it sends a powerful message of inclusion and acceptance to LGBTQ+ people across the region.
The process that led Slovenia to legalize same-sex marriage was long and arduous.
In March 2015, the Assembly finally passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage by a vote of 51-28. However, opponents quickly launched a petition for a referendum and were successful in obtaining the required number of signatures. The referendum was held in December 2015, and the bill was defeated.
In April 2016, they made a significant step forward when the Assembly passed a bill granting same-sex people in partnerships all the rights of marriage that only opposite-sex marriages could benefit until now, except for joint adoption and in vitro fertilization. However, this progress was short-lived, as the National Council vetoed the bill later that year.
Finally, in October 2016, the Assembly voted to override the veto, and the law entered into effect in February 2017. This was a major victory for LGBTQ+ rights in Slovenia, as it brought legal recognition to same-sex unions.
July 2022 was a turning point for Slovenia. It was the month when the country’s Constitutional Court ruled that the law defining marriage as a community of life between a man and a woman was unconstitutional. This legalized equal marriage throughout the country with immediate effect.
That day, the Constitutional Court also called on legislators to amend existing laws within six months to legalize marriage equality on the books.
The Slovenian Democratic Party, the country’s main opposition party, organized several rallies to oppose the court decision.
But fortunately, this criticism no longer reflects the values of the Slovenian people, most of whom now support equal marriage.
In 2015, a poll showed that 59% of Slovenians were in favor of equal marriage. This was a dramatic increase from 2006 when only 31% of the population supported same-sex marriage.
And fortunately, this opposition did not sway lawmakers too, and the country’s Assembly approved the amendment that allows same-sex couples to marry and adopt by 48 votes to 29, with one abstention.
The final adoption of equal marriage and adoption in Slovenia is a cause for rejoicing not only for LGBTQ+ rights activists in the country but also for those in the rest of the region. It must be said that the situation of LGBTQ+ people in neighboring countries is far from ideal.
While Estonia nearly legalized same-sex marriages in 2016, they ultimately opened registered partnerships to same-sex couples instead. Croatia, the Czech Republic, and Montenegro made similar decisions.
Meanwhile, Hungary, Poland, and Russia have all intensified their repression of the LGBTQ+ community in recent years. This climate of intolerance can make it difficult for LGBTQ+ people to feel safe and supported in these countries. There is no escape for them from violence or discrimination.
You now understand the joy of LGBTQ+ people in Slovenia seeing their country moving in the right direction. It is also a sign that progress is possible, even in countries where public opinion may initially be opposed to change.
This amendment represents a major step forward in the fight for equality. It is likely to have a positive impact on the lives of many LGBTQ+ people in Slovenia. It will allow them to form families and have relationships that are recognized and protected by the law like opposite-sex couples. This will help to reduce discrimination and ensure that they can enjoy the same rights as everyone else.
This new law is also a sign of hope for LGBTQ+ people living in countries where equality is not yet a reality. It shows that progress is possible, even in the face of opposition.
We congratulate the Slovenian Parliament for its progressive leadership. And we call on other countries to follow Slovenia’s lead and provide equal rights for all their citizens, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.