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President announces the referendum on “protection of the family”

PRESIDENT Andrej Kiska set the date of the referendum on the “protection of the family” on February 7, 2015, despite he has doubts about their constitutionality, the TASR newswire reported on November 27. The Family Alliance (AZR) which initiated the referendum expects that it will raise discussion about this issue.

PRESIDENT Andrej Kiska set the date of the referendum on the “protection of the family” on February 7, 2015, despite he has doubts about their constitutionality, the TASR newswire reported on November 27. The Family Alliance (AZR) which initiated the referendum expects that it will raise discussion about this issue.

“After examining the reasoning of the Constitutional Court, I observe that my personal doubts were not dispelled as far as the other questions go either,” Kiska said, as quoted by TASR. “Alternative opinions from the Constitutional Court’s judges were enclosed to the Constitutional Court’s ruling and reasoning. As president, however, I’m required to honour the Constitutional Court’s ruling.”

The referendum will seek people’s answers to three questions. These concern the use of the word “marriage” only when referring to the union of a man and a woman, a question on preventing same-sex couples from adopting children, and whether or not parents should be enabled to decide if their children should attend classes dealing with sex education and euthanasia.

The Constitutional Court ruled on October 28 that those three of the four questions that social conservatives want to pose to voters could go forward but decided that it was unconstitutional to ask voters whether they “agree that no other cohabitation of persons other than marriage should be granted particular protection, rights and duties that the legislative norms as of March 1, 2014 only grant to marriage and to spouses (mainly acknowledgement, registration or recording as a life community in front of a public authority, the possibility to adopt a child by the spouse of a parent)?”.

According to Kiska, Saturday, February 7, 2015 has turned out to be the only feasible date for the referendum, as families are not expected to travel to or from their spring holidays on that particular day. He added that he would consulted the date with the Interior Ministry and has received assurances that state authorities are able to do all the necessary prep work, according to TASR.

AZR praised Kiska’s decision hoping that as many as possible people will come. In case that less than half of all voters would come to elections or less than half of participants will agree with questions - which would result in referendum’s failure - AZR is prepared to circulate petition for another referendum three years later. Nevertheless, AZR expects a wide public debate about the issue.

“The success is that the family [issue] is discussed,” AZR spokesman Anton Chromík told the press, as quoted by the SITA newswire.

Romana Schlesinger of the Queer Leaders Forum NGO supporting LGBTI rights considers the referendum as dangerous precedent since majority deciding about minority opens a “Pandora’s box”.

“The fact that questions are related to human rights as is right for family just illustrates the absurdity of whole situation,” Schlesinger told SITA. “We will appeal to people to not participate in the referendum. And [we will do so] out of principal reason: there should be no voting about human rights.”

The three referendum questions are:

1. Do you agree that no other cohabitation of persons other than a bond between one man and one woman can be called marriage?
2. Do you agree that same-sex couples or groups shouldn’t be allowed to adopt children and subsequently raise them?
3. Do you agree that schools cannot require children to participate in education pertaining to sexual behaviour or euthanasia if their parents or the children themselves do not agree with the content of the education?


Source: TASR, SITA

Compiled by Roman Cuprik from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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