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Slovenia officially becomes first eastern European country to recognise same-sex marriage

The legalisation of same-sex marriage has officially come into effect in Slovenia, in a huge win for LGBTQ+ rights in eastern Europe. 

The bill, which saw Slovenia’s Family Code updated, officially took its place amongst the country’s other laws on Tuesday (1 February).

In October 2022, Slovenia’s parliament passed an amendment making it the very first eastern European country to equalise marriage and adoption laws for same-sex couples.

The historic moment followed a decision by the country’s top court in July, which found that banning same-sex marriage and adoption violated the country’s constitution, which prohibits discrimination.

After reaching its decision on 16 July, the court ordered the Slovenian parliament to bring legislation in line within six months, although the ruling took effect immediately. 

The result being that marriages between two adults of the same sex were able to be performed in the country from that day.

The bill was originally published in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia – the publication which contains all the country’s laws – on 28 October. 

Opponents of the legislation were given 15 days to contest the decision, which they did. 

However, Slovenia’s Constitutional Court upheld the National Assembly’s decision to declare the referendum inadmissible on 11 January and the law was once more signed into the Official Gazette on 16 January, taking full effect on 31 January. 

Article 3 of the Family Code now reads:

Zakonska zveza je življenjska skupnost dveh oseb, katere sklenitev, pravne posledice in prenehanje ureja ta zakonik.

(Marriage is the union of two people for life, whose conclusion, legal consequences and termination are governed by this Code.)

Reacting to the news, the country’s president Nataša Pirc Musar said: “Human rights are neither left nor right. They are universal and we all have them. 

“Above all, they are never taken for granted, you have to fight for them every day.

“As societies develop, so does human rights law, which breaks down prejudices and applies to everyone. 

“That is why I am happy and proud that today in Slovenia we are on the path of fully equalising the rights of same-sex partners with the rights of heterosexual couples in terms of the possibility of entering into marriage and jointly adopting a child.”

Luka Mesec, the leader of The Left party, said: “After several decades of struggles in this area led by civil society (including our MPs Nataša Sukič and Tatjana Greif and Minister Simon Maljevac), with persistent activist organising, and in recent years with the persistent efforts of the Left, we finally succeeded.”

In a Twitter statement, the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities wrote: “We are glad that the amendment to the Family Code, which eliminates the unconstitutional legal distinction between same-sex and opposite-sex couples in the possibility of entering into marriage and joint adoption of a child, finally enters into force today.”

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