The Slovenia Times

Constitutional Court allows gay marriage referendum


The 5:4 decision comes seven months after the National Assembly passed simple yet sweeping changes to the marriage and family relations act that redefined marriage as a union of two consenting adults, throwing out the mention of gender.

Spearheaded by leftist parties, the National Assembly subsequently rejected a referendum motion initiated by a Church-backed conservative group, citing recent changes to the Constitution prohibiting referendums on issues that address unconstitutional situations.

Gay rights advocates hoped that the Constitutional Court would side with the National Assembly on grounds that such a referendum would be inadmissible.

But the court merely decided on the narrow dispute between the proponents of the referendum and the National Assembly as the authority that issued a referendum ban, providing no substantive guidance as to the admissibility of such a referendum.

The ruling suggests the National Assembly overreached, as the Constitutional Court is the only authority that can decide on the unconstitutionality of laws in the Slovenian system of the division of powers.

The gist of the dispute is the very nature of the contested marriage equality changes: they affect about 70 laws, which means the scope of the legislation is significantly beyond the previous Constitutional Court rulings regarding marriage equality.

"The National Assembly may independently choose how and in which laws it will address an unconstitutionality determined as such by the Court, but if it does so in an indirect way...this cannot constitute grounds to ban a referendum," the ruling reads.

While thus failing to rule on the substance of the marriage equality referendum, the court nevertheless provided some guidance as to how the complex issue may be resolved in the future.

It says that in the event a referendum results in legislative solutions that are deemed unconstitutional, such solutions "can be thrown out of the body of laws" through petitions addressed to the Constitutional Court.

As Mitja Blažič, a prominent gay rights activist said on Twitter, the court has effectively invited the gay community to lodge challenges against 70 separate laws.


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