Annual Review 2013
The defeat in a referendum of a proposal to amend the Family Code to extend rights of same-sex partners constituted a major setback with regard to advancing LGBTI equality in the country. Later in the year, an anti-Pride Parade Facebook group was set up, and anti-gay graffiti were sprayed on the walls of an LGBT bar right after the Pride Parade, indicating that homophobia remains an issue.
Access to goods and services
- In June, a case against Bovec Local Tourist Organisation was filed with the Market Inspectorate of the Republic of Slovenia claiming a violation of the Principle of Equal Treatment Act. The organisation had placed a pictogram “no homosexuals wanted” on its accommodation catalogue. The organisation’s director claimed that it was a printing error and that the Bovec tourist organisation wanted to use the pictogram “homosexuals welcome” instead. Upon intervention of the Consumers Association, and media attention, the catalogue was removed from circulation and the pictogram blacked out. The case was also reported to the Ombudsperson and to the Advocate of the Principle of Equality.
Bias motivated speech
- In June, a 24-year-old man was placed on three-month probation for setting up a Facebook group against the Pride March in 2010 and for posting hate speech and inciting violence through the media.
Bias motivated violence
- In June, the day after the Pride March took place peacefully, unknown perpetrators drew extensive anti-gay graffiti on the walls of Café Open, an LGBT bar, and on the surrounding buildings. The incident was reported to the police.
- In July, on appeal, the Higher Court ruled that an HIV+ gay nurse who had been denied a job offer following a medical examination, had been discriminated against on the ground of his HIV status. The Labour Court, which had originally ruled that there was no discrimination had to reconsider the case.
- In March, the new Family Code was rejected in a referendum; 55% of the voters voted against the bill, while 45% voted in favour. The turnout was low at 29.9%. The proposed legislation would have brought about equal rights for same-sex partners with the remaining exception being the right to marry and the partners’ entitlement to jointly adopt. Since 2005 same-sex couples have been able to enter registered partnership but are not entitled to the same social rights and benefits as different-sex couples. The Family Code had already been adopted in Parliament during 2011, but the referendum was initiated by a conservative group called Civil Initiative for Family and Children’s Rights as they collected the 42,000 signatures necessary for requesting a national referendum. The Constitutional Court gave its official approval for the procedure.
- In September, the Administration Unit in Maribor agreed to proceed with the application for a registered partnership of a same-sex couple, composed of a Slovenian and a Ukrainian citizen. According to Paragraph 4 of Article 6 of the Registration of Same-Sex Partnership Regulation a person that is not a citizen of the Republic of Slovenia has to enclose with the application for registration inter alia a document issued by the respective foreign authority showing there are no impediments for the applicant to register a same-sex partnership in Slovenia, meaning that the applicant is not legally married or in a legally binding same-sex union. As Ukraine has no law regulating same-sex partnerships the citizen of Ukraine was unable to obtain a document showing he is not in a legally binding same-sex partnership. In view of this, Legebitra sent a question to the Ukrainian Embassy in Ljubljana asking: “Is the registration of same-sex unions regulated by law in Ukraine?” The written response from the Ukrainian Embassy in Ljubljana was then accepted by the Administration Unit in Maribor as a valid supporting document for the application for registration of the same-sex partnership.
- In April, the Minister of External Affairs Karel Erjavec organised a meeting with human rights nongovernmental organisations. He also invited, amongst others, Zavod Kul.si and Zavod Iskreni.net, two organisations which opposed the Family Code because it included same-sex couples. These organisations are known for their intensive anti-gay campaigning, including the promotion of so called ‘reparative therapy’. In response to these invitations, several organisations protested and did not attend the meeting.
- In April, the Diocese of Koper planned to organise a lecture for young Catholics held by Luca di Tolve, a controversial Italian ‘ex-gay’. The event was planned to take place after class in one of Postojna’s secondary schools. Luca di Tolve is known for his intensive international promotion of the controversial ‘reparative therapy’. In a public letter to the headmaster of the high school, the Ministry of Education and the Ombudsman, a group of former students of the Postojna high school protested against the holding of such an activity in a public school. In view of press coverage and public protests from some professional organisations the headmaster of the high school refused to allow the event to take place. The Diocese then organised the lecture in the parish in Postojna.
- According to Eurobarometer 2012, 48% of Slovenians believe sexual orientation discrimination is widespread. This is slightly above the EU27 average (46%). 42% believe gender identity discrimination is widespread. This is slightly below the EU27 average (45%). Slovenians scored 6.2 on a scale from 1 (‘totally uncomfortable’) to 10 (‘totally comfortable’) when asked how comfortable they would feel with an LGB individual in the highest elected political position in their country. This is slightly below the EU27 average (6.6). Slovenians scored 5.4 on a similar scale when asked about a transgender/transsexual person in the highest elected political position in their country. This is slightly below the EU27 average (5.7).