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Referendums on the Human Rights of Minorities: Same-Sex Marriage in Ireland and Slovenia

Posted on 27/01/2016

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On 14 January 2016 the Transnational Law Institute hosted Dr. Ronan McCrea, a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Laws, University College London, and Dr. Neža Kogovšek Šalamon is the Director of the Peace Institute – Institute for Contemporary Social and Political Studies, a private, independent, non-profit research institution founded in Ljubljana in 1991. Both are speakers from the two European countries in which recent referendums on the same human rights issue produced very different results.

Dr. Ronan McCrea’s explained his mixed feelings about the Irish Government’s decision to hold a referendum on same-sex marriage, rather than ask Parliament to pass a law.  Dr. Neža Kogovšek Šalamon’s analysed recent family law reforms in Slovenia, including a 2012 referendum which rejected a proposed Family Code that would have included same-sex couples.  She then traced the steps from the March 2015 law allowing same-sex couples to marry to the 20 December 2015 referendum which overturned it.   An enthusiastic audience arrived for 6:30 pm and stayed until 9:10 pm, when the lively discussion ended.  The conclusion seemed to be that referendums on the human rights of minorities are risky and best avoided, if possible.  The audience saw 6 videos related to the two referendum campaigns:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AkwYEhjjZhs (Ireland - Yes advert)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUL-mn0pmks (Ireland - No advert)

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9X_Xl6kCUUI   (Ireland - declaration of results)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCOyivTb73U (Slovenia - TV debate)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhufdvNKnn0 (Slovenia - Yes advert)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5brsXEEnNC4 (Slovenia - No advert)

For more Transnational Law Institute events see the events listings.

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