Recently, the Slovak parliament voted against a bill that would have given same-sex couples some of the same rights as married opposite-sex couples. This is a major setback for LGBTQ+ rights in Slovakia.
It is disappointing that the Slovak National Council voted against the bill that would have given same-sex couples the same rights as married heterosexual couples when it comes to medical records and inheritance.
Although the bill had strong support, it ultimately failed, with 50 legislators voting in favor of it when 76 were needed, leaving many Slovak citizens feeling discriminated against.
In the lead-up to the vote, Igor Matovič, the Minister of Finance and leader of the conservative party Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OĽaNO), called on members of parliament not to vote in favor of the bill. He stated that he would not support the bill himself if he were a member of parliament. The day before, he had proclaimed his heterosexuality on Facebook, writing “I am heterosexual,” to assert his opposition to the bill.
Now, most members of parliament are from OĽaNo, and they were almost all convinced that this bill was “beyond the government’s program.” Consequently, the bill was voted down.
This bill, which would have given same-sex couples the same rights as married heterosexual couples, was long overdue, and it is shameful that OĽaNO members blocked it. It is clear that they are not interested in protecting the rights of all citizens. Instead, they are interested in those who share their narrow vision of what a family should look like.
After the vote, OĽaNO members said they may prepare their own bill that will probably further discriminate against LGBTQ+ people in Slovakia.
This rejection is a huge disappointment for members of the LGBTQ community and their allies who want more equality.
They had hoped that Slovakia would take a further step for same-sex couples after obtaining a kind of recognition acquired in 2018 that recognizes cohabitation between two close people defined as a parent or spouse, while the country does not allow same-sex marriage or even civil unions.
Just a few weeks ago, two people lost their lives in a terrorist attack at a gay bar in Bratislava.
This tragic event was a stark reminder of the discrimination and violence that members of the LGBTQ community still face daily.
Despite the outpouring of public support for LGBTQ rights in the wake of the attack, the National Council has failed to grant same-sex couples even minimal rights.
This is deeply disappointing, but LGBTQ+ activists in Slovakia say they will continue to fight for equality, even though the odds are stacked against them. They remain committed to fighting for the legal recognition of same-sex unions, and we really wish them success.