From Turtle Bay and Beyond:
Yesterday, Slovenia held a post-legislative referendum on the new Family Code that was adopted in the Slovenian parliament in June 2011.
In a popular vote, 55% of voters rejected the new Family Code and 45% supported the law. Turnout was 30% on a sunny Sunday.
"The people of Slovenia expressed their belief that motherhood and fatherhood are both unique and represent a fundamental value; for the good of a child," said Aleš Primc, head of the Civil Initiative that proposed the referendum.
The new Family Code had 309 articles and addresses many issues, but despite intense negotiations over the past two and a half years continued to include serious threats to the family and rights of children.
Primc explained: "We have always been ready for a compromise solution, but the political parties and the LGBT groups insisted on equalising the position of homosexual and conjugal marriages, including the right to decide upon child-bearing."
In what turned out to be the most controversial, the new Family Code introduced the unclear path towards complete equalisation of the homosexual and conjugal marriage and the child-adoption for homosexual couples.
The referendum was held upon an explicit request of the people of Slovenia, who came together in a civil society movement outside the political parties in a "Civil Initiative for the Family and the Rights of the Child."
The Civil Initiative was in an unenviable position with all major media against it and with the President of Slovenia Danilo Turk declaring himself for the new Family Code, just as did most political parties in the national parliament. The current Slovenian government decided not to participate in the referendum campaign.
This was a first referendum of this kind in an EU member state and is likely to become an important point of reference for any further legislation in this area in the region of Central Europe.
Note to the editor:
Civil Initiative for the Family and the Rights of the Child was formed as a response to the unacceptable proposal for a new Family Code in 2009. It is by far the largest Slovenian civil society group (it has more than 65,000 members). It promotes the rights of children and encourages civil society to protect marriage as the union between one man and one woman.
In terms of its supporters it is a new phenomenon because Slovenia has not experienced such a strong civil society involvement after the fall of the Communist regime.
On 3 February 2012 the Civil Initiative delivered well over 40,000 verified signatures, needed to hold a referendum on the new Family Code to the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia.
Following the rejection of the new Family Code at this referendum, this legislation is now scrapped and Slovenia will go back to the drawing board, with a recently established new Slovenian government, and a clear message from the Slovenian people.
For further information, you can turn to:
Aleš Primc, Head of the Civil Initiative; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Klemen Žumer, Brussels Adviser, mobile: +32 498 514 589