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article imageSlovenia to hold gay marriage vote in December

By AFP     Nov 4, 2015 in World

Slovenian lawmakers on Wednesday voted to hold a referendum in December on whether to implement legislation allowing gay marriage, an issue that has divided the central European nation.

The ballot will take place on December 20, after the 90-seat parliament voted 60 to 11 in support of the motion, with three abstentions.

The constitutional court last month gave the go-ahead for the referendum after a conservative group -- close to the centre-right opposition Slovenian Democratic Party and backed by the Catholic Church -- gathered sufficient signatures to trigger a plebisicite.

The petition was filed in response to a parliamentary bill adopted in March granting same-sex couples the same marriage rights as heterosexual couples.

Lawmakers had tried to halt the conservative initiative in its tracks, claiming it was unconstitutional given that marriage -- heterosexual or gay -- is a basic right.

However, under Slovenian law, any group that within a month garners 40,000 signatures in the nation of two million can seek a referendum on the new legislation.

The March law will be scrapped if more than 20 percent of the electorate take part in the referendum and if a majority of participants vote against it.

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