Slovak Tensions between LGBTQ people and Alliance For Family – Martin Snopek, Slovakia

Homosexuality is sensitive topic in every part of the world. However, in Slovakia, it is more so than ever before. There is going to be referendum initiated by “Alliance For Family” which could effect the status and rights of homosexuals in Slovakia.

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The Rainbow Pride Parade in Bratislava in 2012. The sign the man is holding says “I am also Christian” (source: AFP Photo, Samuel Kubani)

Who are LGBTQ people?

Firstly, it is important to define the party involved in this issue. LGBTQ is a collective of people who do not fall under the binary gender or sexual norms. LGBTQ is an acronym of a few of the different types of people who identify as LGBTQ.

Lesbians – females with sexual attraction to other females
Gays – males with sexual attraction to other males
Bisexuals – with sexual attraction to both males and females
Transgender – people who identify with a different gender than the one they were assigned to at birth
Queer – those who do not fall in the gender or sexuality norms.

Unfortunately, these people often face discrimination or violence. In some countries they are threatened by prison or in isolated cases death penalty.

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The Alliance for Family logo (source: Aliancia Za Rodinu)

What is Alliance For Family?

It is a group that fights for “support of values of marriage and family”. From their point of view, as shared by most religious denominations, marriage should only be between a man and a woman. One of the values of family, in their opinion, is that it forms by marriage and that orphan children could be adopted just by “complete and stable” family consisting of a mother and a father. Adoptions by people that “do not meet set criteria’’ should not be spread and should not replace the traditional family. People who do not support them suggest that families in Slovakia and around the world have much bigger problems than definition of marriage.

And here the conflict begins!
The views of Alliance For Family does not seem to be a problem. We are a free and democratic country, including freedom of thought on such issues. However, Alliance decided to go further. They began to collect signatures so they could organize a referendum. Since many Slovaks, mostly the older demographic, are conservative Catholics, it was not difficult to receive 400 000 signatures. The referendum is going to be held on February 7th 2015. The referendum was supposed to contain 4 questions, however, one was revoked by Constitutional Court because of uncertainty. Here are the 3 questions that are going to be asked:

1. Do you agree that only a bond between one man and one woman can be called marriage?
2. Do you agree that same-sex couples or groups should not be allowed to adopt and raise children?
3. Do you agree that schools cannot require children to participate in education pertaining to sexual behaviour or euthanasia if they or their parents don’t agree?

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An advertisement for Alliance for Family. It says “referendum on the protection of families”. (source: Radio Lumen)

Naturally, homosexuals took this as an attack and they oppose it. Alliance For Family still claims that the referendum is not focused on homosexuals or their rights. The Church supports the referendum, leading to many people who do not agree with it to stop attending masses. If you went out wearing a shirt printed with “I support homosexuals” or “I support Alliance For Family’’, you would think hard before doing it again . Everybody here knows someone with a differing opinion, and even in traditional families, debates can occur about this topic. The next step for the Alliance was advertising. I’m sure it was a big shock for them when TV networks refused to show their spot. However, it is not much of a surprise that the only channel who has agreed is the Christian channel.

Personally, I am not homosexual. However, I respect them and support their marriages and believe they should have a chance to adopt children. From my perspective, two people who will love a child is better than a few pedagogues who work on shifts and complain. The reason why LGBTQ people are often discriminated against in Slovakia is that people do not know them. I am from the city and I am in daily contact with homosexuals, even when I may not know it when I meet them. The way I see it is that they are normal people. However, when I go to a small village, people simply hate homosexuals because they do not know them, as there is a smaller chance of meeting one. Even if there are any LGBTQ people, they would not have the courage to say anything. I believe we need to learn more about homosexuality. It should be openly discussed in schools and communities. Organizations that support homosexuals should hold peaceful meetings so everybody can see that there is nothing to be afraid of.
As we wanted to know what you, our readers, thought about this referendum, we created an international survey. The respondents were asked to answer the questions that were going to be on the referendum.

In which region do you live in?

Out of 180 responses, 95 were from Europe, 60 from the Americas, 19 from Asia, 3 from the Middle East, 1 from Oceania and 2 from Africa.
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Do you tolerate homosexuality?

94% of the respondents said they tolerate homosexuality, while 6% said no.
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1. Do you agree that only a bond between one man and one woman can be called marriage?

12% of the respondents believe that a marriage can only mean a bond between a man and a woman, while 88% do not.

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2. Do you agree that same-sex couples or groups should not be allowed to adopt and raise children?

15% of the respondents believe same-sex , while 85% did not.

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3. Do you agree that schools cannot require children to participate in education pertaining to sexual behaviour or euthanasia if they or their parents don’t agree?

34% of the respondents agreed, while 66% did not.

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We found that many of the respondents we surveyed were tolerant of homosexuality. Out of the 89 Europeans who responded, 5 were intolerant of homosexuality. We found both Europe and America to be quite progressive, as America only had 2 respondents intolerant of homosexuality. We could not properly judge neither Africa nor Oceania, as we did not have enough respondents. However, among our Asian surveys, although there were only 19 respondents, Asia had more intolerant responses than America. That being said, it was also evident that there was confusion in the wording of the questions. We used the exact questions from the referendum and as many know, referendum questions are often especially worded to convince the voter to vote for a specific response. We noticed that a couple respondents who said that they did not tolerate homosexuality also said that they do not agree that marriage can only be restricted to bonds between a man and a woman. However, if they do not tolerate homosexuality, they would not be able to tolerate any marriage other than one between a man and a woman. The same can be said for respondents who said that they tolerate homosexuality, but agree that marriage can only be between a man and a woman and/or homosexual couples should not be able to adopt. In conclusion, the results from the survey showed that a small percentage of people today still do not accept homosexuality. This echoes the reality of our world because so often now we hear the loud, negative opinions being voiced, while support is drowned out. What do you predict the outcome of this referendum is? Do you support it? Do you disagree with it? Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page and let us know!

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