Sometimes Even Most Basic Principles Need Voters’ Confirmation. This Is One Of Those Times.

The international media have started showing some interest in Sunday’s vote as well. has a decent summary of events so far, for example. But with five days remaining to Sunday’s referendum vote on same-sex marriage, the one thing that has been noticeably lacking in the public debate are polls. While that will likely change in the days ahead, it left both YES and NO campaigns in the dark in terms of gauging their reach and fine-tuning their approach. Now, the rumor-mill has it that some in-house polling was indeed done and that the results suggest a slight edge for the NO campaign, but given the lack of (financial) resources both campaigns are struggling with, these things need to be taken with a grain of salt, although it would be wrong to disregard them completely.

pengovsky already cast his vote

Having said that, the campaign this time around is so crude that public opinion polls would probably not do much difference. The NO campaign especially opted for an all-hands-on-deck approach, enlisting the support of whatever grass-roots and Astroturf support it could muster, ranging from crackpots talking about hormone disruptors to suspiciously similar looking associations and groups all the way to the Catholic Church and the right-wing political parties, both within and without the parliament.

Lies, damn lies and the NO campaign

And while the YES campaign enlisted support from non-parliamentary and parliamentary parties, including the ruling coalition, it is trying to keep the message simple and clear: the issue here is equal right to marry and little else. And while they have been fairly consistent in this approach (post-debate mockery of the NO side over the weekend notwithstanding), the other side have resorted to fearmongering, intimidation, bad grammar and abuse of legal procedures, all in the name of the cause.

Namely, the day after the debate on public TV which left many-a-viewer in a state of shock and disbelief (yes, there was actually a guy in the NO camp talking about hormone disruptors and yes, pengovsky knows this guy personally), the very next day there was a hearing in the parliamentary committee on human rights on the issue. Normally, such a hearing would be held during legislative procedure, but since the committee is chaired by SDS’ very own Eva Irgl, it was clear from the outset that the sole aim of the enterprise was to give the NO camp a platform to speak from. Especially since Slovene media still feel obliged to report just about every antic the elected representatives of the people think of. Sure, the YES campaign were given the right to counter the claims of the NO campaign, but it was more than obvious who were the protagonists in this particular farce.

Intimidation, fearmongering and bad grammar

Were that not enough (and apparently it isn’t), private individuals who let the world around them know they’re in favour of equal right to marriage, are being bullied and intimidated by those opposing the measure. Case in point being Maruša Žabkar, a young entrepreneur from the town of Krško, who according to her own account,  found a hand-delivered unsigned letter on her doorstep on Monday morning, full of accusations, homophobic slurs and bad grammar, denouncing her and (among other things) accusing of destroying the nation by supporting equal rights. Go figure.

Still, the award for the most concentrated pile of bullshit goes to the Roman Catholic Church which provided a compendium of virtually every bigoted conspiracy theory you can find on the internets, some of which would make even the right wing of the Republican Party cringe. A sample, for your reading, well, pleasure.

The law allows for adoptions by same-sex couples. Do you really wish your child to be adopted by two homosexuals, should anything happen to you?

The law does not “allow” for same-sex adoption, as these are already legal in case of one partner being the biological parent or if the adoption took place in a foreign country (e.g. the USA). Should a child, bob forbid, lose both parents while underage, Slovenian legislation (as everywhere in the world, I imagine) provides for a custodian to be named, usually the next of kin. Usually, grandparents or uncles and aunts. And even if there is no next of kin and the orphaned child would indeed be up for adoption, the social services would act in the best interest of the child. This excludes any possibility of same-sex couples being somehow privileged in adoption procedures. Doubly so given the fact that there are way more prospective adopters in Slovenia than there are possible adoptive children. And if you’re still not convinced, there is a provision for children over 10 years of age to give their consent for adoption into a new family.

The law brings changes to curriculum. Do you wish for your children to learn that they can pick their own gender and that they should experiment with their gender and sexual orientation?

Wait, what? Not only does the law not say a word about teaching curricla, the “school-meddling” argument has been thoroughly refuted (link in Slovenian). But on the whole, pengovsky should point out that keeping your children from learning stuff (including on sexual orientation) only creates frustrated and socially inhibited individuals. Which is a fairly good description of the vast majority of the NO campaign.

The law kills freedom of speech. Do you wish to lose your job saying it’s better for a child to have a mother and a father than two people of same sex?

Pengovsky has yet to see a law that would repudiate an article of the constitution. Obviously, nothing of the sort would happen.

And so on, ad nauseam. A good run-down of absurdity of these “arguments” is available here.

One of those times

And if none of the arguments of the NO campaign hold water, the only question is, why vote YES? Simple: because all men (and women) are created equal and people who want to be together should be able to do so in a way that makes them the most comfortable. By allowing same-sex weddings, no one is disenfranchised, only slightly more people get to get hitched.

This might seem self-explanatory especially to young voters, but sadly it is not. Which is why Sunday’s vote is so terribly important. Sometimes, even the most basic principles of a modern society need to be confirmed by a popular vote.

This is one of those times.



Same-Sex Marriage: Third Time’s A Charm. For Now…

Hours ago Slovenian parliament voted 51-28 to legalize same-sex marriage, extending all the rights and benefits of a married heterosexual couple to their same-sex counterparts. To the horror of those opposing the legislation, this includes the right to adopt children, exchange wows (and, indeed, vows) and generally do what married people can do. Thus Slovenia became 21st country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage which sort of makes us special. But not really.


As both readers of this blog know, a complete overhaul of the Family Code which – among many other things – legalised gay marriage, was rejected on a referendum two-and-a-half years ago. So in effect what was passed today by the parliament was just a severely stripped-down version of th Code which solved only one pressing issue. Everything else, including the all-encompassing definition of a family, i.e. granparents adopting their grandchildren, non-blood-related people consenting to become a family and so on, was left for another day. If that day ever comes.

Because while the rabid right-wing is expecting the four horsemen of the Apocalypse to ride in about now, the sad truth is that the quote/unquote revolutionary potential of the left-wing has been exhausted. At least on this issue. “Revolutionary” because this wasn’t really a revolution. Not when fucking Alabama is allowing gay weddings. The LGBT community in Slovenia is apparently extatic and has every right to be so. But the country as such is only marginally better due to today’s vote and the fact the phrase “a historic vote” was applied liberally only further strengthenes the point. When history is (pretended to have been) made, politicians start sitting on their laurels. And Bob knows they think they’ve earned them.

Finally on that train

Well, they didn’t. At the very best what happened today was Slovenia catching the train it should have boarded long ago. Slightly more realistically speaking, what we have seen today is again a demonstration that the left-right division does not always correspond to the progressive/conservative division. Today’s was the third attempt at some sort of legalisation of same-sex marriage, the first one dating back to 2002 (then it would rightly have been called revolutionary). And in the first two attempts the whole thing fell through not so much due to fervent opposition from the right (their attitude is no secret) but rather due to lacklustre support on the left.

That the third time was the charm is mostly the result of leftist ZL (United Left) finally being proactive and filing a forward-looking piece of legislation as well as SMC, the party of PM Miro Cerar (now being rebranded as Party of Modern Centre) somehow trying to make amends for their failure to support same-sex marriage during the election campaign. Which probably bought them a couple of votes last summer.

It was a clever trick, really. The ZL put forward the draft law at the very moment when the right-wing is split over Janez Janša and the SDS-NSi combo is no more a given. Especially since the Roman Catholic Church withdrew its unconditional support for Janša’s party. Also, the SDS tied down a lot of resources trying to fight back their leader’s imprisonment and the judiciary in general. And it seems the party and its civil-society-satelites lack the manpower and materiel to wage (political) war on two fronts. Specifically, Aleš Primc, the guy running the NO campaign the last time around, is busy these days rallying the faithful in front of the Supreme Court, being all vocal about Janša’s court case(s). As a result, today’s protest in front of the parliament against changing the law was flimsy at best, given the gravity of the issue.

Thus the ZL managed to get the ball rolling and pass until now a seeming impossible piece of legislation.


Unless, of course, the legislation is beaten after the parliament. This does not so much mean a referendum, although one is possible. Namely, ever since the changes in referendum legislation, it is next to impossible to kill a piece of legislation by keeping the attendance number low and making sure ony your fervent supporters vote. And, a referendum can not be held on a question of human rights. Which marrying people you love definitely is. But the referendum is not the real threat.

The real threat comes from the way the law was passed. Namely, for some reason, probaby that of political expediency, trying to slam-dunk the issue while the right wing is more or less in tatters, the majority in the parliament voted early on that the changes in law would be debated and voted on in an extraordinary (i.e. shortened) procedure, where all three readings the final two readings are condensed in one session with the parliamentary committee doing the debate first.

Ordinarily, the parliament would debate this in tree separate readings, giving enough room for a civil exchange of pros and cons. Additionally, parliamentary Rules of Procedure specify in Article 143 142 clearly under what conditions can the extraordinary procedure be invoked. It seems no such conditions were met. This opens a pretty big hole in the armour and could mean that in the challenge before constitutional court the former could ignore the contents of the law and go straight to technicality of passing it. This also means that the court would not be de iure ruling on human rights but rather on whether the parliament applied the appropriate procedure in defending and expanding those rights.

And suddenly things would get tricky, again…

PM Bratušek Meets The Pope, Gets Pulled Over By The Fashion Police

Alenka Bratušek met @pontifex today (or maybe it was the other way around) and the fashion police were out in full force. As if that were the main problem this country has. Admittedly, she does seem to have a penchant for tiger/leopard patterns, but surely a politician’s ability to carry out his/her office outweighs whatever fashion no-nos he or she might have committed. At the very least, it way better than having a PM who looks like he walked out of a Abercrombie & Fitch catalogue but is prone to committing diplomatic gaffes.

Alenka and Francis, earlier today. (source: Delo/AFP)

Anyway, the thing is that while AB sported a leopard-pattern skirt while meeting her Italian counterpart, she put on a nice black outfit for her date with Francis (veil included) and was apparently toeing the line of the diplomatic protocol. So, everyone should be happy.

What is more important, however, and what we probably will never know, is what exactly they talked about. After all, the Maribor Diocese still has the 800 million debt hanging over its head and basically went tits up. Just for comparison, only days ago, the state OK’d recapitalisation of two largest banks, NLB and NKBM for a combined amount of 900 million. So you can see that the Roman Catholic Church has a bit of a problem in Slovenia. Which is probably one of the reasons the local clergy did not go ape-shit over the proposed real-estate tax which – according to a government leak – would encompass Church-owned real estate as well. That, and the fact that the local clergy is more Ratzingerian than Bergoglian and are probably still getting their bearings vis-a-vis the pop-Pope.

Also, it was reported the entire real-estate assets of the Slovenian Roman Catholic Church amount to – you guessed it – 800 million euro. Repossession, anyone? No? Too heavy?

Point is that there are serious issues at play here. Bratušek government is about to start selling a batch of state-owned companies as well as start transferring toxic assets to a bad band bank. In short: the landscape of Slovenian economy is about to change dramatically very soon. But here we are, as a nation, talking about the size and colour of the PM’s skirt.

Really, maybe we deserve the shit we’re in.

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