The first anniversary of Borut Pahor’s government is fast approaching and the media is appropriately teeming with analysis. Pengovsky will chip in his two eurocents later in the week, but given the interest in the post about the new family code, I think I should bring my esteemed readership up to speed on the issue.
After the code was drafted, it was submitted to public debate, which did precious little to either calm the fears of those who oppose the new law, or to let those who support it be heard. It was as if everybody just threw away their ponchos and turned out to be armed to their teeth. The opponents’ arguments remained basically the same: family is a union of a man and a woman with one or more children, having it any other way means hurting the kids. The supporters, however, claim that expanding the definition of a family (including but not limited to homosexual couples) will be beneficial to children.
Admittedly, the debate on this 266-pages-long document (font-size 11, Slovene only) was overshadowed by the debate on Pahor-Kosor agreement, which might have something to do with the fact that both camps dug in and are holding fast. But fact of the matter is that the debate went sour predictably fast and that although there seems to have been some initial goodwill on behalf on proponents of the legislation on actually hearing the other side, it dwindled before you can say “adoption by same-sex couples”.
This basically leaves the project in the hands of the coalition, which will probably have to resort to its majority in the parliament and give up hope on reaching at least partial some sort of consensus with the opposition. The latter would probably say that it would support the new code if the same-sex provision were stricken, whereupon the coalition would have probably responded by saying that those provisions are the whole point of the legislation, which would bring us back to square one.
Needless to say that the right wing parties (specifically, NSi and SLS) are threatening to call a referendum on the issue, but it is probably safe to assume, that the Constitutional Court would ban the referendum on the grounds that its result could discriminate against rights of same-sex couples, just as it did when it deliberated on the law on registering same-sex unions. Should a petition to hold a referendum be submitted, the court is widely expected to say that a majority cannot curb rights of a minority.
And a good thing too. According to Dnevnik daily, as much as 2/3 of Slovenes oppose the right of same-sex couples to adopt children. Go figure
Tuesday, November 17th, 2009