Slovenia makes history by legalising same-sex marriage and adoptions

The country has become the first Eastern European state to equalise marriage and adoption laws for same-sex and heterosexual couples.

A Pride march in Slovenia, which legalised same-sex marriage and adoptions.
Image: Via Twitter - @SLOinNordics

On Tuesday, October 4, Slovenia made history when it became the first Eastern European state to establish marriage equality and legalise adoptions for same-sex couples.

With 48 votes in favour, 29 against and one MP abstaining, the Slovenian Parliament passed an amendment to the country’s legislation, equalising marriage and adoption laws for same-sex and heterosexual couples. The amendment was drafted by the centre-left government led by Prime Minister Robert Golob and faced the strongest opposition from the far-right Slovenian Democratic Party of Slovenia (SDS).

The change comes after the highest court in Slovenia ruled earlier in July that the law, which previously defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman, was discriminatory against same-sex couples and declared it unconstitutional. With this ruling, which also legalised the adoption of children by same-sex couples, the court established that the government has six months to turn the sentence into law.

With this historic development, Slovenia has now become the first post-communist country to grant such protections to LGBTQ+ couples and the 14th state to introduce marriage equality within the European Union. Some of Slovenia’s neighbouring countries came close, when, for example, the Estonian government agreed to recognise same-sex unions formed in other countries in 2016.

In Croatia, while marriage equality is unconstitutional since 2014, same-sex unions are protected under the Life Partnership Act, which grants them almost equal rights to heterosexual married couples, and a historic court ruling legalised same-sex adoptions earlier this year.

While presenting the amendment to the Slovenian Parliament, State Secretary Simon Maljevac said, “With these changes, we are recognising the rights of same-sex couples that they should have had for a long time.

“Slovenia is finally joining a number of countries in Europe and around the world that have already granted equal rights to heterosexual and same-sex couples,t” he added.

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