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Slovenia referendum rejects law granting same-sex rights

Slovenians voted in a national referendum on Sunday against amendments to the country's family law that would have increased the rights granted to same-sex couples. The proposed Family Code [text, DOC, in Slovenian] passed the Slovenian Parliament [official website, in Slovenian] last year under former prime minister Borut Pahor [EP profile] and would have given registered same-sex partnerships the same legal rights as marriages and allowed individuals to adopt their same-sex partners' biological children. The proposed law did not permit same-sex couples to adopt children from third parties. Unofficial reports announced that about 54 percent of voters opposed the law [AFP report], while 44-percent favored it. Last month, conservative advocacy group Civil Initiative for the Family and the Rights of Children, with the help of Catholic supporters, collected and filed the required 40,000 signatures [STA report] to challenge the law to a referendum vote. Labor, Family and Social Affairs Minister Andrej Vizjak [official profile, in Slovenian] responded to the referendum results, saying that the government would respect the will of the people [statement audio, in Slovenian] and would draft a new proposal.

The rights of same-sex couples have been an ongoing issue across Europe. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] ruled this month that the right of a person in a same-sex partnership to adopt his or her partner's child is not protected [JURIST report] by the European Convention on Human Rights [text, PDF]. The case involved a French woman who was denied her request to adopt her civil partner's child, who was conceived through in vitro fertilization (IVF). She argued the adoption denial violated articles 8 and 14 of the Convention on Human Rights, which protect against invasion of family privacy and discrimination, respectively. In its decision, the court found that the denial did not discriminate against same-sex couples, because opposite sex couples in civil partnerships are equally denied a right to adoption.

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