Slovenia Approves New Same-sex Partnership Law Following Public’s Repeal of Their Marriage Bill


Following last year’s repeal of a same-sex marriage law in the country, Slovenian lawmakers approved a civil partnership bill to give couples the same rights as marriage barring joint adoption and in-vitro fertilization. Unlike previous occasions, the Constitutional Court blocked a referendum to repeal the partnership law and it is expected to become functional in February of 2017.

The bill is the third attempt to fulfill a 2009 Constitutional Court ruling ordering Parliament to improve Slovenia’s current civil partnership law, especially in the area of pensions.

In 2011, a change to the Family Code granting the same rights as marriage and allowing same-sex couples the right to adopt their partner’s biological child was passed, but eventually repealed through the first of two public votes against a proposal on same-sex unions.

In 2014, a new Government considered another civil partnership bill before deciding to extend full equality to all couples instead and approve a same-sex marriage bill with joint adoption rights.

Once again, signatures for a repeal were collected and the Constitutional Court overrode the National Assembly’s decision to block the referendum which resulted in another defeat for same-sex couples.

After the 2015 marriage referendum, a member of Parliament introduced a bill similar to the Government’s civil partnership proposal that was passed in April. Conservative groups attempted to start a new referendum process, but were stopped by the Speaker of the National Assembly after he considered that they were abusing the country’s referendum law.

While the Court deliberated on the referendum case, the partnership bill was sent to the President to be promulgated. It was signed in May and published shortly after.

On July 22nd, the Court decided to block the referendum for the first time.

The new civil partnership law will come into effect on February 24th, 2017.

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Slovenia’s New Same-sex Partnership Bill Advances


On Thursday, Slovenia’s National Assembly approved a same-sex partnership bill that will fix several deficiencies found in the country’s existing partnership legislation.

Back in 2009, the Constitutional Court of Slovenia ordered Parliament to upgrade their 2006 partnership law, especially in regards to pensions. Two attempts resulted in conservatives collecting enough signatures to force referendums that defeated the proposals by large margins. This third try may finally close some gaps found in same-sex unions.

In 2011, the Government attempted to make same-sex unions equal to marriage in all but full adoption rights, but the law was repealed after the public voted 54.5-44.5% against the proposal in 2012. Although most provisions of the law were rolled back to their 2006 state, a stepchild adoption clause that allows a person to adopt their partner’s child was retained.

A new coalition approved a change to the Family Code in 2015 that would make marriage gender-neutral and grant all couples joint adoption rights, but once again, conservative groups collected signatures to hold a referendum that resulted in the law’s defeat when voters rejected the law by a margin of 63-37%. Like 2012, last year’s vote had a very low turnout.

Following the 2015 referendum result, an Independent member of Parliament presented a partnership bill that would fulfill the Constitutional Court’s order and grant same-sex couples all of the benefits of marriage barring joint adoption and equal in-vitro rights, two legal provisions that conservative groups promised to collect signatures against if Parliament tried to approve them.

Slovenia’s National Assembly approved the new bill this week on a vote of 54-15. The bill now heads to the National Council who has seven days to decide if the Assembly must vote on it again.

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Slovenian Government Endorses New Same-sex Partnership Bill


In 2009, the Slovenian Constitutional Court ordered Parliament to strengthen existing civil union legislation, especially in the area of inheritance. A third attempt at achieving this received the endorsement of the Prime Minister and his government earlier this month.

Two previous attempts have both resulted in conservative groups collecting signatures to force a referendum to roll back any progress made in Parliament.

Claiming that the 2011 Family Code reform was too similar to marriage and opposing the inclusion of some adoption rights, conservatives defeated the 2011 bill when the public voted down the proposal 55-45%. Although the proposal never became law, the stepchild adoption clause, which allows a person to adopt their partner’s biological child, was maintained.

The second try came when the new government decided to look into another civil union proposal before ultimately opting for marriage equality and legalizing full adoption rights for same-sex couples. In December of 2015, voters rejected the measure 63.5-36.5%.

Follwing the 2015 referendum, members of the liberal and conservative wing of Parliament both submitted new partnership bills. The government chose to back the proposal of an independent member who wants to give couples almost all the same rights as marriage barring joint adoption and in-vitro fertilization.

What’s Next For Slovenia?


In 2009, Slovenia’s Constitutional Court told Parliament that the civil partnership law passed in 2006 needed to be improved, especially in regards to inheritance rights. Over six years later the Court’s ruling has yet to be fulfilled.

Two attempts from two different government coalitions have both resulted in a majority of voters repealing the most recent bills passed by Parliament. In March of 2012, a civil partnership bill to give same-sex couples all the rights of marriage barring full adoption rights was defeated in a referendum 54.5%-45.5% – although the right of stepchild adoption, or a law permitting the adoption of one’s partner, remained. After a new coalition was sworn in during 2014, work began on a bill that would go all the way and grant gay couples the right to marry and jointly adopt. The bill was met with fierce opposition from conservative groups who once again prevailed in holding a referendum that would lead to the bill’s demise by a margin of 66-33% on December 20th, 2015.

Following the December 2015 referendum, an independent member of Parliament presented a bill that would update the current civil partnership law, but neither grant the term marriage nor change existing adoption laws. This carefully-crafted bill had been written in 2014 in response to the 2012 referendum, but was placed on hold while the marriage proposal was brought to Parliament for a vote instead.

As for same-sex marriage, it seems to be off the cards for now as by law, a proposal similar to something that is rejected by the public cannot be resubmitted for at least one year. The ever-looming risk of another expensive referendum being held also makes it seem unlikely that the government would try a marriage bill again so soon.

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