John M. Becker

Pope Francis Endorses Marriage Discrimination in Slovakia

Filed By John M. Becker | February 05, 2015 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: adoption equality, Catholic Church, Catholicism, gay marriage, marriage discrimination, marriage equality, Pope Francis, referendum, same-sex marriage, Slovakia

francis.jpgI hate to say it, but I told you so...

BuzzFeed's J. Lester Feder reports that Pope Francis is publicly endorsing a voter referendum Saturday in the central European nation of Slovakia that would ban marriage and adoption rights for same-sex couples.

Pope Francis gave his blessing on Wednesday to a referendum that would ban marriage and adoption rights for same-sex couples in Slovakia, which will be voted on this Saturday.

"I greet the pilgrims from Slovakia and, through them, I wish to express my appreciation to the entire Slovak church, encouraging everyone to continue their efforts in defense of the family, the vital cell of society," Francis said during Wednesday's general audience in Rome...

"For first time in Slovak modern history the Catholic Church is heavily involved in political campaign," said Martin Macko, executive director of the LGBT rights group Inokost. The Slovak referendum follows the success of a similar ballot measure in another Catholic-majority Eastern European country, Croatia, which adopted a ban on recognizing the marriages of same-sex couples in December.

More, after the break.

Slovak lawmakers added a marriage discrimination amendment to the heavily Catholic nation's constitution last June, so the referendum would not change the status quo on marriage rights for same-sex couples. But as Feder notes, the measure also includes new language blocking same-sex couples from adopting children and allowing parents to pull their kids out of sex ed classes.

slovakia-flag.gifAs previously reported here on Bilerico, the referendum will only be legally binding if more than 50 percent of the nation's voters cast ballots in the election. In the 21 years that Slovakia has been an independent country, there have been seven such referenda, but only one has met the 50-percent threshold: the 2003 vote on whether or not to join the European Union. All six others -- including questions about financial disclosures, national nuclear policy, and political reform -- failed due to insufficient voter turnout.

This suggests that the upcoming marriage referendum may be nothing more than a shameless political stunt, perhaps meant to be a distraction from the government's "mushrooming corruption scandal."

The Slovak referendum effort is being enthusiastically supported by U.S.-based anti-LGBT groups, including the Alliance Defending Freedom and the World Congress of Families.

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