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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, February 13, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 07
Slovakia's Anti-Gay referendum fails due to low turn-out - Measure had Papal blessing
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Slovakia's Anti-Gay referendum fails due to low turn-out - Measure had Papal blessing

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Slovakia failed to pass a referendum that would have reinforced discrimination against same-sex couples, in spite of the Pope's blessing of the measure.

Slovaks were asked to vote Yes or No on three propositions:

o that only a union between a man and a woman can be called 'marriage;'

o that same-sex partners must be barred from adopting children;

o that parents should decide whether their children receive sex education.

Only 21.4% of the country's voters turned out for the referendum, far short of the legally required 50% participation.

LGBT activists had urged voters to boycott the election. Pope Francis, on the other hand, called on Slovaks to vote.

'I wish to express my appreciation to the entire Slovak church, encouraging everyone to continue their efforts in defense of the family, the vital cell of society,' he told a general audience at the Vatican.

The referendum was forced by a petition campaign by the Catholic Church-affiliated Alliance For Family, which turned in a reported 400,000 signatures. The referendum also had the backing of several U.S.-based anti-Gay groups - the Alliance Defending Freedom, NOM, C-FAM, and the World Congress of Families.

Both pro- and anti-Gay activists hailed the results of the referendum.

Romana Schlesinger, an LGBT activist said, she hoped the government will now work to make it possible for same-sex couples to live in registered partnership 'because all our partnerships, our families are living without legal recognition or protection.'

A leader of the Alliance For Family, Anton Chromik, said he was delighted that a clear majority of the voters who participated in the ballot supported his group. It created 'a good base' for further activities, he said.

Slovakia is the poorer and more conservative eastern part of the former Czechoslovakia. In the neighboring Czech Republic, same-sex couples may form legal domestic partnerships and adopt each others' children, but only with the status of step-parents.

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