Rainbow Pride spills into the Bratislava streets, coinciding with a march for family

Slovak politicians react turbulently to this LGBTI event: the coalition's SNS calls on state representatives and diplomats not to express their approval, while opposition SaS calls on Christian activists to join forces and organise a joint event.

Dúhový / Rainbow Pride 2016Dúhový / Rainbow Pride 2016 (Source: Sme)

This year’s Dúhový / Rainbow Pride is taking place on Saturday, July 14, from 13:00 in Hviezdoslavovo Square in Bratislava. Organisers, the Dúhový PRIDE Bratislava civic association, say they want to encourage all members of the LGBTI community and send the message that it makes sense to remain in Slovakia, and strive for a better life with legal recognition of their partnerships, families and identity, the SITA newswire wrote. They also try to point to politicians that they are here and their fundamental rights and freedoms are – unlike most European-Union member sates –not fulfilled.

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Part of the event will be free and anonymous HIV testing, with a HIV Check Point ambulance (parking lot of the Park Inn Hotel, Hviedzoslavovo Square, 13:00-18:00).

Another march, Proud of Family, meant to stress the value of family and gratefulness towards parents and grandparents, is slated for the same time.

Politicians, parties react

The opposition Freedom and Solidarity Party (SaS) believes that Christian activist Anton Chromík and the civic association Pastor Bonus have made a step in the right direction, recognising the sexual identity of persons as innate characteristics and not as a matter of subjective decision.

Read also: The first Slovak politician to publicly "come out" says that today it would be more difficult Read more 

“This religious community also claims to have a blessed attitude towards transgender or homosexual people and opposes any manifestation of hatred or mockery of these people,” the chairperson of the SaS caucus, Natália Blahová, noted for SITA. “Then it is also close to understanding that the adoption of the Registered Partnership Act would be a political-legal expression of this blessed attitude towards transgender or homosexual people.”

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A rival march

In this regard, the SaS party proposed to the organisers of the Dúhový / Rainbow Pride and the Proud of the Family march a joining of their public events after they end. Both marches should then merge into one for tolerance and understanding among people.

The latter march will take place again this year, to be held from 14:30 on July 14, the TASR newswire wrote.

One of the organisers, Chromik, said that the marchers will gather on Hodžovo Square. Another co-organiser, Marek Nikolov of Pastor Bonus, told a briefing that the aim is to express gratitude through the march.

“We want to thank our mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers for their sacrificial love for us” he explained for the Sme daily. “We also want to thank our ancestors for showing with their life’s example the great good that is hidden in relationships and value.” The organisers said that the march is meant to be expression of thanks, and not a protest or provocation.

Not all are welcoming…

The junior coalition party, Slovak National party (SNS), is upset about the march for LGBTI rights, and they called on ombudswoman Mária Patakyová not to participate in it. She, however, plans to fly the rainbow flag during the parade, as she did last year.

SNS MP Anton Hrnko called on her – as quoted by Sme – not to support the parade this year. Former Smer MP Stanislav Fořt, who made a coming out as the first politician, considers this just a cheap attempt to draw attention.

Two years ago, the Slovak Ambassador to Hungary, Rastislav Káčer, had problems for hanging the rainbow flag out of his window. SNS and then-prime minister Robert Fico criticised him; but Káčer said that as ambassador he does not represent just the majority of white heterosexual non-handicapped men. Homophobic displays are very dangerous, he opined, especially if they are presented by elected representatives of the country.

Another coalition party, Most-Híd, announced (according to Sme) that MPs can decide themselves whether they support the Pride.

Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini of the ruling Smer party did not answer.

Former premier Robert Fico said, regarding the rights of homosexuals in Slovakia and the upcoming Rainbow Pride which has stirred up battles of words between certain politicians, that he respects the fact that there are homosexual relations and couples in the country and would never take any specific action against them. However, he would never support a bill on legalising homosexual marriages, either.

“We should consider things that have opened up, such as access [for homosexual couples] to [their partner’s] health information, or how to deal with property-related issues after the death [of one of the partners]. But don’t expect me to raise my hand for homosexual marriages, don’t expect such a (mental) somersault from me,” he said, as quoted by TASR.

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