Study Finds Dozens of Laws Discriminatory to Same-Sex Couples

Ljubljana, 23 March - A study examining the legal status of same-sex couples in Slovenia has found that more than 80 laws discriminate against couples who live as registered partners or who cohabit as opposed to those who are legally married.

One of the authors said the study found that the extent of discriminatory provisions was far greater than initially thought, a press conference in Ljubljana was told on Monday.

Barbara Ragelj said that the legislation dealing with the rights and duties stemming from partnerships most frequently discriminates against cohabiting partners who have not registered their partnership. A notable exception is inheritance.

"[The legislation] is frequently discriminatory also towards registered partners," Rajgelj told a press conference organised by the Legebitra, a NGO dealing with the rights of gay, lesbian and transgender persons.

Provisions dealing with the rights of children are especially problematic in dealing with the status of children in same-sex families when a social parent cannot adopt a child who already has two biological parents. "At the same time the legislation fails to deal with the rights of step children in same-sex families."

"A woman in a same-sex family can adopt the child of her partner only when there is no registered father. When a child has a registered father who lives elsewhere, they are treated as a step child." She said step children were treated differently in heterosexual and homosexual families.

The presence of discrimination against same-sex couples was also raised by Neža Kogovšek Šalamon of the Peace Institute, a human rights NGO, who said that there were cases of good practice in legislation in other fields, such as dealing with asylum-seekers.

In legislation dealing with asylum-seekers "the legislator has worked to treat the partner equally regardless of whether the partnership has been registered or not". "This principle should extend to other fields," said Kogovšek Šalamon.

Rajgelj and Kogovšek Šalamon said that the identified examples of discrimination would be abolished with the implementation of the amendments to marriage and family relations act that introduce marriage equality.

The study was prepared by five experts in law and human rights: along with Rajgelj and Kogovšek Šalamon, Mojca Zadravec, Nada Perčič and Iztok Štefanec. It was funded by the Norwegian Fund.

The presentation comes as a group campaigning against same-sex marriage starts collecting signatures for a referendum on the amendments.

© STA, 2015