Recognition of same-sex unions in Slovenia

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Legal status of same-sex unions
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Slovenia has recognized partnerships for same-sex couples since 23 July 2006. The law gives same-sex partners access to one another's pensions and property.

The bill to legalize same-sex marriage was approved by the country's parliament on 3 March 2015. However, it was rejected in the referendum on 20 December 2015.

Registration of same-sex partnerships Act 2005[edit]

A law establishing partnerships was adopted on 22 June 2005, titled Zakon o registraciji istospolne partnerske skupnosti (ZRIPS).[1] The law covers only property relations, the right/obligation to support a socially weaker partner, and inheritance rights to a degree. It does not grant any rights in the area of social security (social and health insurance, pension rights) and it does not confer the status of a next-of-kin to the partners. The adoption of this law sparked a political debate in the National Assembly, with Slovenian National Party deputies opposing recognition of same-sex partners. The opposition Social Democrats and Liberals, arguing that the law proposed was too weak, refused to take part in the voting, leaving the chamber. The vote succeeded with 44 votes for and 3 against.

A more comprehensive Registered Partnership Bill passed the first reading in Parliament in July 2004 but was rejected by Parliament during the second reading in March 2005.[2][3] The bill would have provided for all rights inherent to marriage apart from joint adoption rights.

On 31 March 2005, the government proposed a new partnership bill, described above, providing access to pensions and property. It was passed in July 2005, and became effective on 23 July 2006.[4]

On 2 July 2009, the Constitutional Court found that it was unconstitutional to prevent registered partners from inheriting each other's property. It held that treating registered partners differently from married partners constituted discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, breaching Article 14 of the Slovenian Constitution. It gave the Parliament six months to remedy the situation.[5][6] In response, the Minister of the Interior, Katarina Kresal (LDS), announced the government would prepare a new law, which would legalise same-sex marriage.[7] This sparked a considerable controversy in the public.[8]

Family Code 2011[edit]

Laws regarding same-sex partnerships in Europe
  Foreign marriages recognized
  Other type of partnership
  Unregistered cohabitation
  Constitution limits marriage to opposite-sex couples

Includes laws that have not yet gone into effect.

On 2 July 2009, the Minister of the Interior, Katarina Kresal (LDS), announced that Slovenia is likely to legalize same-sex marriage in the near future, citing the government's commitment to provide equal rights for both opposite-sex and same-sex couples. The announcement stirred some level of public controversy, mainly because it provided grounds for same-sex adoption.[7]

On 21 September 2009, the Government presented a draft of the new Family Code, which would allow same-sex couples to marry and adopt children.[8][9][10][11][12] The bill went through a period of public debate until 1 November 2009.[13][14][15][16][17][18][19] In December 2009, the Government considered amendments to the bill, which was expected to be voted upon in 2010.[20] On 17 December 2009, the Government approved the Family Code.[21][22][23] It was submitted to the National Assembly on 21 December 2009.[24][25] On 2 March 2010, the bill was approved by the Assembly in the first reading.[26][27]

On 24 January 2011, the Government announced its intention to change the bill before its final version is passed by the National Assembly. The amendments would be made due to the difficulty of passing the bill. Marriage would be defined as a union between a man and a woman, but same-sex registered partnerships would have all rights of marriage except joint adoption (step-child adoption would be allowed).[28][29]

On 7 April, the National Assembly's committee approved the amended bill in the second reading and sent it for a third reading.[30] It was passed in the final reading on 16 June 2011.[30][31][32]

The new law was challenged on 1 September 2011 by a conservative popular movement 'The Civil Initiative for the Family and Rights of Children', which called for a national referendum on the issue, and started gathering the requisite popular support.[33] In response, the Government asked the Constitutional Court to judge whether such a referendum would be constitutional. On 26 December 2011, the Constitutional Court ruled that holding referendum on this issue is constitutional.[34] A referendum on 25 March 2012 led to the rejection of the bill.[35][36]

Adoption cases[edit]

On 3 March 2010, the Supreme Court in Slovenia ruled that a male couple with a dual Slovenian-U.S. citizenship, who adopted a baby girl in the United States, were to be recognised as the child's legal parents in Slovenia as well.[37] On 17 July 2011, the Ministry for Work, Family and Social Affairs allowed for a woman to adopt her same-sex partner's biological offspring, on the basis of a 1976 law. This raised the possibility that such adoption could be possible even if the 2011 Family Code were to be repealed in a referendum.[38][39]

Partnership bill 2014[edit]

On 14 April 2014, the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities has presented a bill to grant partnerships all the rights of marriage, except adoption and assisted reproduction. It was under public consultation process until 5 May 2014.[40][41] However, the bill's future fate was uncertain due the early parliamentary elections on 13 July 2014, which were held following the resignation of Prime Minister Alenka Bratušek. On 15 October 2014, the Ministry announced another public consultation on a draft, which lasted until 15 November.[42] In January 2015, Minister of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities Anja Kopač Mrak said that a bill was put on hold while the proposal to legalise same-sex marriage is considered by the parliament.[43]

Bill to Amend the Marriage and Family Relations Act[edit]

Legislative process[edit]

On 15 December 2014, the opposition party United Left (ZL) introduced a bill into Parliament that would legalise same-sex marriage.[44][45] The sponsors of the bill say the goal is to provide equal rights to all members of society. The sponsors of the bill claim that the bill would extend constitutional rights to all groups. The constitution provides that all have equal rights, but these rights have thus far been denied to homosexual couples.

On 29 January 2015, the government expressed no opposition to the bill.[46][47][48] Two of the three parties of the governing coalition SMC and SD backed the bill, as did the opposition parties ZL and ZaAB. The third party of the coalition DeSUS decided to allow a conscience vote in its ranks. Only SDS and NSi opposed it.[49]

On 10 February 2015, the Committee on Labour, Family, Social Policy and Disability of the National Assembly passed the bill 11 votes to 2 in its second reading.[50][51]

On 3 March, the Assembly passed the bill in the third reading, in a 51-28 vote.[52][53][54] On 10 March 2015, the National Council rejected a motion to require the Assembly to vote on the bill again, in a 14-23 vote.[55][56] The bill was up to the President to sign.

On 10 March 2015, opponents of the bill announced that they have collected more than 80,000 signatures to call for the referendum. They filed 2,500 of them, as required, in order to be allowed to proceed with the petition for popular vote.[57][58]

On 17 March 2015, the leader of the SMC parliamentary group said that, although the party supports same-sex marriage legislation, it would not try to prevent the possible referendum on the issue. United Left, the main proponent of the bill, criticized the statement.[59] However, on 19 March, the SMC politicians clarified that they are just against blocking proponents from collecting signatures under the petition, and that the party will support the motion to block the referendum, when signatures are submitted.[60][61]

On 23 March 2015, a thirty-five-day term began in which the proposers of an eventual referendum against the law have to collect 40,000 valid signatures.[62] On the same day, a group of 23 deputies from SD, DeSUS, ZL and ZaAB filed a request to call an extraordinary session of the Assembly in order to vote on a motion to block the referendum.[63][64] On 26 March, the National Assembly voted 53–21 to block the referendum on the ground that it would violate the constitutional provision which prohibits popular votes on laws eliminating an unconstitutionality in the field of human rights and fundamental freedoms.[65][66] The proponents of the referendum, who had announced that they have collected 48,146 signatures before the Assembly's vote, said they would appeal the decision to the Constitutional Court, which they did on 2 April.[67][68][69]

Petition to Constitutional Court[edit]

The Court had the option of declaring the referendum unconstitutional, as Article 90 of the constitution prohibits referenda on the subject of constitutionally protected human rights. Any referendum in Slovenia is only successful if a majority of participants and at least 20% of all eligible voters vote against the law.

The Constitutional Court deliberated about the appeal in four sessions on 10 June, 9 July, 10 September and 24 September.[70][71][72][73][74] In October 2015, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Ljubljana, Stanislav Zore, intervened politically to signal his support for the referendum.[75]

On 22 October 2015, the Court officially published its decision, which permitted the referendum to proceed. However, the ruling did not address article 90 making a new challenge to the referendum possible. The ruling solely regarded the ability of the National Assembly to declare a referendum unconstitutional.[76][77][78]


On 4 November 2015, the National Assembly decided that the referendum will take place on 20 December 2015.[79][80][81] The bill was rejected, as a majority of voters voted against and the votes against were more than 20% of registered voters, as required by the constitution.[82][83][84]

Partnership Act 2016[edit]

On 22 December 2015, following the 20 December 2015 referendum, independent deputy Jani Möderndorfer introduced the bill to give same-sex partnerships all rights of marriage, except adoption and in vitro fertilisation.[85][86][87] On 10 March 2016, the government expressed its support for the bill.[88][89] On 5 April, the bill was approved by the Committee on Labour, Family, Social Policy and Disability of the National Assembly.[90][91] On 21 April, it was approved by the Assembly, in a 54-15 vote.[92][93] The National Council did not require the Assembly to vote on the bill again.

On 28 April, the union of migrant workers SDMS filed a motion, with required 2,500 signatures, in order to be allowed to proceed with the petition for referendum.[94][95][96] However, on 5 May, the Speaker of the National Assembly Milan Brglez refused to set a thirty-five-day deadline during which the proposers could collect 40,000 valid signatures to force the referendum, arguing that this and several other SDMS referendum initiatives constitutes an abuse of the referendum laws.[97][98] He sent the bill for promulgation the next day.[99][100] It was promulgated by President Borut Pahor and published in the official journal on 9 May 2016.[101][102] The law took effect on 15th day after its publication (i.e. 24 May 2016) and would be operational nine months later (i.e. 24 February 2017).[103][104]

On 10 May, SDMS challenged the Brglez's decision to the Constitutional Court.[105] On 21 July 2016, the Court rejected the challenge.[106][107][108]

Public opinion[edit]

A Eurobarometer survey published in December 2006 showed that 31% of Slovenians surveyed support same-sex marriage and 17% recognise same-sex couples' right to adopt (EU-wide average 44% and 33%).[109]

A survey conducted in October 2009 showed that 23% of respondents supported adoption rights for same-sex couples, while 74% opposed.[110]

A poll conducted by Delo Stik in February 2015 showed that 59% of Slovenians surveyed supported same-sex marriage, 37% were against. A separate question in the same survey found that 51% of Slovenians supported the bill, which was debated in the National Assembly at the time, to allow such marriages and adoptions by same-sex couples, while 42% were against. The poll also showed that 38% of respondents supported adoptions by same-sex couples and 55% were against.[111]

Another poll conducted by Ninamedia in March 2015 showed that 42% of respondents support the new law, while 54% oppose. The support is highest among those younger than 30, and in the region Slovene Littoral.[112]

A poll conducted by Delo in March 2015 showed that majority of respondents think that the Constitutional Court should not allow a referendum on the subject. Of those who said they would participate in a possible referendum, 36% said they would support the law, and 50% said they would vote against it.[113]

The 2015 Eurobarometer found that 54% of Slovenians thought that same-sex marriage should be allowed throughout Europe, 40% were against.[114]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Slovenia passes same-sex marriage law
  2. ^ (Slovene) Istospolni in heterospolni
  3. ^ (Slovene) Zavrnili predlog zakona o istospolni zvezi
  4. ^ Slovenian Marriage License Requirements
  5. ^ (Slovene) U-I-425/06
  6. ^ Constitutional Court of Slovenia Upholds Equal Rights for Same Sex Partners
  7. ^ a b Slovenia to legalize soon same-sex marriage: minister
  8. ^ a b New Family Law Allowing Gay Marriage Stirs Controversy
  9. ^ (Slovene) Po novem zakoniku istospolni partnerji do posvojitve otrok
  10. ^ Natural Order Of Things (Everyone Needs A Family)
  13. ^ (Slovene) Novi družinski zakonik – revolucionarni korak naprej ali nepremišljeni zdrs nazaj?
  14. ^ (Slovene) Javno mnenje delijo posvojitve otrok istospolnih skupnosti
  15. ^ (Slovene) Ko se nad nov družinski zakonik spravi Komisija Pravičnost in mir
  16. ^ (Slovene) Predlog družinskega zakonika razdvaja javnost
  17. ^ (Slovene) Izteka se javna razprava o predlogu družinskega zakonika
  18. ^ (Slovene) Družinski zakonik naj varuje otroke
  19. ^ Deputies and Experts Clash Over Concept of Family
  20. ^ (Slovene) Družinski zakonik bo predvidoma sprejet maja 2010
  21. ^ Family Law Bill Ready for Parliament
  22. ^ (Slovene) Družinski zakonik pripravljen za obravnavo v DZ
  23. ^ (Slovene) Družinski zakonik odhaja v parlament
  24. ^ (Slovene) 0817-V Družinski zakonik
  25. ^ (Slovene) 0817-V Družinski zakonik Evidenčni podatki
  26. ^ Gay Adoptions Cause Rift as MPs Discuss Family Law Bill
  27. ^ (Slovene) Družinski zakonik čez oviro
  28. ^ Ministry Confirms Changes to Gay Adoption Proposal
  29. ^ (Slovene) Ministrstvo je pripravilo kompromisni predlog družinskega zakonika
  30. ^ a b (Slovene) Odbor za delo potrdil t.i. kompromisni predlog družinskega zakonika
  31. ^ (German) Queer:Slowenien schreckt vor Ehe-Öffnung zurück
  32. ^ (Slovene) Zakonik sprejet, morda veto DS, morda še referendum
  33. ^ (Slovene) Dosje: Družinski zakonik
  34. ^ "Referendum o družinskem zakoniku bo" (in Slovenian). 27 December 2011. Retrieved 5 April 2014. 
  35. ^ Family Law Struck Down
  36. ^ Slovenia referendum rejects law granting same-sex rights
  37. ^ Supreme Court Upholds Gay Adoption
  38. ^ "Zelena luč lezbični posvojitvi otroka" (in Slovenian). 19 July 2011. Retrieved 5 April 2014. 
  39. ^ First Adoption by Gay Partner of Child's Parent
  40. ^ (Slovene) Pričela se je javna obravnava Zakona o partnerski skupnosti
  41. ^ (Slovene) Partnerska skupnost je skupnost dveh žensk ali dveh moških, ki skleneta partnersko skupnost
  42. ^ (Slovene) Začetek javne razprave o predlogu Zakona o partnerski skupnosti
  43. ^ (Slovene) Zakonska zveza – ne za moža in ženo, za dve osebi
  44. ^ (Slovene) Zakon o spremembah in dopolnitvah Zakona o zakonski zvezi in družinskih razmerjih
  45. ^ Time to bestow marriage equality to same-sex couples?
  46. ^ (Slovene) Mnenje Vlade o Predlogu zakona o spremembah in dopolnitvah Zakona o zakonski zvezi in družinskih razmerjih
  47. ^ (Slovene) Vlada ne nasprotuje predlogu ZL o istospolni skupnosti
  48. ^ The government issues opinion on the Act Amending the Marriage and Family Relations Act
  49. ^ (Slovene) Pravice istospolnih in raznospolnih parov že kmalu izenačene
  50. ^ Green light for the debate about the amendment to the law on marriage and family
  51. ^ (Slovene) Redefinicija družine v smer enakosti dobila zeleno luč
  52. ^ Slovenia allows same-sex couples to marry, adopt children
  53. ^ Same-sex and heterosexual union equal in Slovenia
  54. ^ Slovenia approves same-sex marriage, adoption legislation
  55. ^ (Slovene) Državni svet ni izglasoval veta na zakon o družinskih razmerjih
  56. ^ (Slovene) Veta na novelo zakona o zakonski zvezi ne bo
  57. ^ Same-sex marriage opponents in Slovenia push for referendum
  58. ^ (Slovene) 80.518 podpisov za referendum o redefiniciji zakonske skupnosti
  59. ^ (Slovene) SMC referendumu ne bo oporekal, ZL pa vztraja, da ga ne sme biti
  60. ^ (Slovene) Poslanci SMC: Ne bomo dopustili referenduma o zakonski zvezi
  61. ^ SMC Against Gay Marriage Referendum After All
  62. ^ (Slovene) Referendum o zakonski zvezi: podpise bodo zbirali od 23. marca
  63. ^ Fate of gay marriage referendum in the hands of MPs
  64. ^ (Slovene) 23 poslancev v boju proti referendumu o zakonski zvezi
  65. ^ MPs Vote to Ban Gay Marriage Referendum
  66. ^ (Slovene) Poslanci zavrnili referendum
  67. ^ (Slovene) Pobudniki referenduma so zbrali 48.146 podpisov
  68. ^ (Slovene) Primc: V DZ-ju imamo podivjano večino, ki zlorablja ustavo in zakone
  69. ^ (Slovene) Koalicija Za otroke gre bo nocoj oddala ustavno pritožbo
  70. ^ (Slovene) Ustavno Sodišče 18. seja - predlog dnevnega reda
  71. ^ (Slovene) 21. seja - predlog dnevnega reda
  72. ^ (Slovene) Odločitev US o referendumu o zakonu o zakonski zvezi verjetno šele jeseni
  73. ^ (Slovene) 23. seja - potrjen dnevni red
  74. ^ (Slovene) 25. seja - predlog dnevnega reda
  75. ^
  76. ^ Court judgement
  77. ^ "Slovenia court allows referendum on halting gay marriage". Yahoo!7. 23 October 2015. 
  78. ^ Constitutional Court allows gay marriage referendum
  79. ^ (Slovene) Referendum o izenačitvi partnerskih skupnosti bo 20. decembra
  80. ^ Slovenia to hold gay marriage vote in December
  81. ^ Slovenia to hold Dec. 20 referendum on same-sex marriage
  82. ^ Slovenians reject equal marriage in referendum
  83. ^ "Slovenia rejects same-sex marriage in a referendum". Reuters. 20 December 2015. 
  84. ^ Marriage equality voted down in referendum
  85. ^ (Slovene) 967-VII Zakon o partnerski zvezi
  86. ^ After referendum, new bill submitted to protect gay couples
  87. ^ (Slovene) Möderndorfer: Primc je zlorabil referendumsko vprašanje za vključitev v politiko
  88. ^ (Slovene) Mnenje Vlade o Predlogu zakona o partnerski zvezi
  89. ^ Slovenia will expand civil partnership rights after gay marriage defeated in referendum
  90. ^ Skozi matični odbor tudi predlog Möderndorferjev zakon o partnerski zvezi
  91. ^ Same-sex partnerships: Committee puts ball in Parliament's court
  92. ^ (Slovene) Državni zbor sprejel zakon o partnerski zvezi
  93. ^ Same-sex partnership act passed
  94. ^ (Slovene) 967-VII Pobuda volivcem za vložitev zahteve za razpis referenduma v zvezi z Zakonom o partnerski zvezi (28.04.2016)
  95. ^ (Slovene) Delavci migranti vložili referendumske pobude še za tri zakone
  96. ^ (Slovene) Predstavniki delavcev migrantov v DZ vložili referendumske pobude še za tri zakone (daljše)
  97. ^ (Slovene) 967-VII Odločitev predsednika Državnega zbora o nedoločitvi roka za zbiranje podpisov volivcev 05.05.2016
  98. ^ (Slovene) Brglez je zavrnil še tri referendumske pobude. Odbor 2014 protestiral pred DZ-jem.
  99. ^ (Slovene) 967-VII Dopis predsedniku Republike Slovenije (06.05.2016)
  100. ^ (Slovene) 967-VII Dopis Uradnemu listu
  101. ^ (Slovene) Uradni list RS, št. 33/2016 z dne 9. 5. 2016
  102. ^ (Slovene) Objavljeni zakoni, za katere so delavci migranti predlagali referendume
  103. ^ (Slovene) Zakon o partnerski zvezi
  104. ^ New civil unions act enters into force
  105. ^ (Slovene) Delavci migranti so vložili ustavno pritožbo nad Brglezovo odločitev
  106. ^ (Slovene) Ustavno sodišče zavrnilo vse pobude delavcev migrantov
  107. ^ Greater equality is on the way for same-sex couples in Slovenia
  108. ^ 217 days to application of the Civil Partnership Act and substantially greater equality of same-sex couples
  109. ^ "Eurobarometer 2006" (PDF). Retrieved 16 February 2015. 
  110. ^ (Slovene) Vox populi - Aktualna vprašanja
  111. ^ "Večina podpira istospolne poroke, do posvojitev je zadržana". RTV Slovenia (in Slovenian). 16 February 2015. Retrieved 16 February 2015. 
  112. ^ (Slovene) Izenačitev pravic raznospolnih in istospolnih parov po anketi podpira 42 odstotkov vprašanih, 54 jih temu nasprotuje
  113. ^ (Slovene) Anketa: Referendum o družinskih razmerjih ni dopusten, a če bi bil, bi zakon lahko padel
  114. ^ Special Eurobarometer 437

External links[edit]