Slovenia could become the first Central European country with marriage equality following a vote tonight (3 March).
Parliamentarians will vote on the same-sex marriage bill, with a vote planned for around 7pm local time. If passed, it will be sent to President Borut Pahor to be signed into law.
Suggested by the opposition party United Left (ZL), the sponsors of the bill said Slovenia’s constitution calls for all members of society to be provided with equal rights, and the bill will extend those to rights to all groups.
On 29 January, the government expressed no opposition to the bill and allowed it to move forward.
Two of the parties of the governing coalition SMC and SD support the bill, as are the opposition parties ZL and ZaAB. The third party of the coalition DeSUS will have a conscience vote. Only SDS and NSi oppose it.
During its second reading on 10 February, the Committee on Labour, Family, Social Policy and Disability of the National Assembly passed the bill 11 votes to 2.
Slovenia attempted to pass same-sex marriage once before. Right-wing group ‘The Civil Initiative for the Family and Rights of Children’, which called for a national referendum on the issue, gathered just enough support to reject the bill in 2012.
‘This is an infinitely practical suggestion; it proposes treating all couples with dignity and respect. Such a move would signal that Slovenia values its same-sex couples just as much as its heterosexual citizens; based on basic equality principles and common sense,’ said Evelyne Paradis, ILGA-Europe’s executive director.
In a February 2015 poll, it found 59% of Slovenians surveyed supported same-sex marriage and 37% were against.