[JURIST] The Slovakia National Council [official website, in Slovak] amended the country’s constitution [text] on Wednesday to specifically define marriage [legislative materials, in Slovak] as the unique bond between one man and one woman. Of the 123 members of Slovakia’s parliament that voted on the measure, only 18 voted against adopting the amendment [voting record, in Slovak]. The amendment specifically denies same-sex couples the legal protections associated with marriage [Pink News report] by specifying that “it will be impossible for the rights and duties associated with marriage to be conferred in any way other than a legally recognised union between a man and a woman.” Entities such as Amnesty International Slovensko and the Slovak LGBT rights organization Iniciativa Inakost [advocacy websites, in Slovak] have expressed concern [Slovak Spectator report] over the fact that the rush to pass the amendment gave the public little time to express its opinions regarding same-sex marriage.
Same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] and the rights of LGBT individuals have been hotly contested around the world. In March a group of Ugandan rights activists petitioned the country’s Constitutional Court to overturn a law enacted in February criminalizing the promotion and recognition of homosexual relations [JURIST reports]. Also in February Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced a decree banning the adoption of Russian children [JURIST report] by gay couples or single people from countries that legally allow same-sex marriage. In January the Supreme Court of India declined to review its controversial December decision [JURIST reports] to reinstate a law criminalizing homosexuality in the country. That same month, the Parliament of Turkish-controlled Northern Cyprus passed a bill decriminalizing homosexual relations between men [JURIST report], making it the last European territory to do so.