Slovenia legalises same-sex marriage and adoption as neighbouring countries impose anti-LGBTQ+ laws

An image of two women kissing at a Pride parade in Maribor, Slovenia

Slovenia has become the first Eastern European country to legalise same-sex marriage and adoption, after a court ruled they were constitutional rights.

On Tuesday (4 October), Slovenia’s parliament passed the amendment, making it the very first Eastern European country to equalise marriage and adoption laws for same-sex couples.

The ruling comes at a time when Slovenia’s neighbouring countries are imposing strict new anti-LGBTQ+ laws.

The historic moment follows a decision by Slovenia’s top court in July, which found that banning same-sex marriage and adoption violated the country’s constitution, which prohibits discrimination.

The court’s judges ruled 6-3 on both issues, just a month after the left-wing Golob Cabinet took power following the 2022 presidential election, replacing the far-right Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS).

Rights same-sex couples ‘should have had for a long time’

The court said at the time that the ruling “does not diminish the importance of traditional marriage as a union of a man and a woman, nor does it change conditions under which persons of the opposite sex marry”, according to EuroNews.

Slovenia’s parliament passed the amendment with 48 MPs voting for it, 29 voting against, and one MP abstaining. Most opposition came from the SDS.

State secretary Simon Maljevac said while presenting the amendment: “With these changes, we are recognising the rights of same-sex couples that they should have had for a long time.”

The legalisation of same-sex marriage and adoption puts Slovenia at odds with its Eastern European neighbours, with countries likely Hungary and Poland becoming more and more hostile towards their queer citizens.

Last year, Hungary passed a so-called ‘LGBTQ+ propaganda law’ that bans the discussion of LGBTQ+ people in media, school materials and advertisements aimed at minors, and the country’s leader, Viktor Orbán, has overseen the banning of same-sex adoption, the ending of legal gender recognition for trans people and the redefinition of marriage in the country’s constitution as the union between one man and one woman.

In Poland, which passed its own ‘LGBTQ+ propaganda law’ earlier this year, president Andrzej Duda has ensured that the country is among the most homophobic countries in Europe, according to equality rights rankings, with its patchwork of “LGBT-free zones“.