Slovenia to vote on homosexual rights in referendum

Thu Mar 22, 2012 7:54am EDT
 
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By Marja Novak

LJUBLJANA (Reuters) - Slovenia will decide on Sunday whether to allow homosexuals to adopt the children of their partners after a conservative group forced a national referendum on the issue.

The previous parliament, dominated by a centre-left coalition, passed a new family law in June 2011 but the Civil Initiative for Family and Children's Rights challenged it, arguing that homosexuals should not receive adoption rights.

By February the group, which enjoys the support of the Catholic Church, had collected the 42,000 signatures necessary for a national referendum.

Opinion polls show voters are likely to narrowly endorse the law.

Under the legislation, gay couples do not have the right to adopt children from a third party but conservative groups want it annulled because it allows homosexuals to adopt the children of their partners.

"We are against the new family law because it does not recognize the exceptional importance of women and men in giving birth, the personal development and upbringing of children, and does not bring new rights to children," Ales Primc, head of the civil group which initiated the referendum, told Reuters.

"It also paves a way for a homosexual education in the school system and we believe such an education should be followed only in agreement with parents."

The small Adriatic country which joined the European Union in 2004 is relatively tolerant of homosexual couples, who have been able to formally register their relationship since 2006.   Continued...

 
A man applies the finishing touches on a banner during a gathering to oppose a law that allows same-sex couples to adopt children, in Skofja Loka January 3, 2012. Family and children's rights activists are trying to gather 40,000 signatures from people supporting a referendum to repeal the law. REUTERS/Srdjan Zivulovic