A proposal to set up a special committee to support the rights of non-heterosexual citizens failed to pass by a single vote at the government session on May 11, the TASR newswire reported. The Slovak cabinet also did not approve a change in the status of the Government Council for Human Rights, Ethnic Minorities and Gender Equality. The rejected committee was supposed to be a permanent advisory body to the council, with the Deputy Premier for Human Rights and Ethnic Minorities, Rudolf Chmel (Most-Híd), serving as its chairman.
The vote count showed that Prime Minister Iveta Radičová from the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) voted for the proposal, as well as all cabinet members from the Most-Híd and Freedom and Solidarity parties but ministers from the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) and some party colleagues of Radičová did not support the measure.
Speaking to journalists following the session, Labour Minister Jozef Mihál (SaS) said that there is no reason to push hard for creation of the committee at the moment because of the stance presented by KDH and SDKÚ.
"Anywhere else in developed Europe minorities of this type do have their representation in institutions sticking up for their rights. I'm saddened to see Slovakia outside the circle of these countries," he said. His party colleague, Culture Minister Daniel Krajcer, shares his views.
Interior Minister Daniel Lipšic (KDH) sees things in a different light. "Unlike my colleagues from SaS, I don't think that Slovakia needs homosexual marriages, as marriage is appreciated by society not because the married couple is heterosexual, but because in marriage there is a potential for the creation of family, which allows society to survive," said Lipšic, adding that this is not the case with homosexual couples.
Agriculture Minister Zsolt Simon (Most-Híd) said he voted for the proposal, as he saw "no problem" with it. Education Minister Eugen Jurzyca (SDKÚ) told journalists that he abstained from the vote, saying that he was not sure whether the creation of such a committee would actually resolve anything.
The decision is a major setback and disappointment said the head of the Queer Leaders Forum (QLF), Romana Schlesinger, adding that by deciding against the creation of the council, the government has set a precedent – suggesting that it is not interested in statements issued by its advisory bodies, not interested in the Council for Human Rights, Minorities and Gender Equality. She stated the action was a manifestation that certain things will always be decided on a political level.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
12. May 2011 at 10:00