The Slovak Constitutional Court issued a decision Wednesday to allow a pro-family referendum initiated by the Slovak Alliance for Family to move forward.
Although in June the Slovak Parliament approved, by a vote of 102 to 18, a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as a bond between a man and a woman, the Slovak Alliance for Family launched a petition calling for a national referendum to affirm four main points:
- that marriage is defined as a union of one man and one woman;
- that adoptive parents must be married, to provide the best environment for the children involved;
- that parents be allowed to opt out their children from school classes dealing in sex education and euthanasia;
- that same-sex registered partnerships be banned.
The Family Alliance collected more than 400,000 signatures in its petition in support of the referendum before submitting the document to the President’s Office in August.
That number surpassed the constitutionally required minimum of 350,000 signatures, but Slovak President Andrej Kiska asked the Constitutional Court to scrutinize the proposed referendum questions because of a provision in the country’s constitution that forbids holding a referendum to change “fundamental rights and liberties.”
In a friend-of-the-court brief filed with the Slovak Constitutional Court in September by Alliance Defending Freedom’s (ADF) senior legal counsel in Europe, Roger Kiska (no relation to the president), ADF argued that the proposed referendum is not subject to that provision because it only affirms or enhances existing law.
The ADF brief explains that the proposed referendum questions are aimed at affirming current Slovak law on marriage, family, and parental rights. The brief argues that the Slovak people should have the freedom to decide these issues. It also outlines the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights and the European Court of Justice concerning marriage, family, and parental rights.
However, in its decision, the Slovak Constitutional Court approved the first three referendum questions, but disallowed the question on same-sex registered partnerships.
“The referendum will move forward on three of the four proposed constitutional amendments, those being the question of marriage as between one man and one woman, a prohibition of same-sex adoption, and parental opt outs from sexual education,” Roger Kiska told LifeSiteNews.
“The proposed question regarding civil partnerships was rejected by the court,” Kiska said. “It's reasoning was that civil partnerships fall under the definition of human rights questions, and that human rights issues cannot be the subject of a popular referendum in Slovakia.”
“Nonetheless same-sex civil partnerships are not allowed under Slovak law currently,” Kiska added.
“The people of Slovakia should have the freedom to preserve marriage and family if they so choose,” Kiska concluded. “The Constitutional Court is right to affirm the democratic freedom of the Slovak people. This referendum will allow Slovaks to protect current Slovak law and important social values.”