Tensions rise ahead of gay pride event

Topical issue

Tensions rise ahead of gay pride event

04. 07. 2018 14:39

Speaking on the rights of homosexual couples in the Slovak Republic ahead of the upcoming Rainbow Pride march, Smer-SD party head and former prime minister Robert Fico stated at a press conference on Tuesday that he respects the fact that there are homosexual relations and couples in the country and would never take any specific action against them. However, he stated he would never support a bill on legalising homosexual marriages. "We should consider things that have opened up, such as access [for homosexual couples] to [their partner's] health information, or how to deal with property-related issues after the death [of one of the partners]. But don't expect me to raise my hand for homosexual marriages, don't expect such a somersault from me," he said.

This year's Rainbow Pride will take place in Bratislava's Old Town on July 14, and although the event has two weeks ahead of it, it has already become a source of political tension and name-calling, namely between Slovak MEP Monika Beňová and Slovak National Party (SNS) vice-chair Anton Hrnko.

This began when Ombudswoman Maria Patakyová voiced her decision to support this year's Pride event, believing it important to highlight the issue of legally protecting the LGBTI community in Slovakia. The SNS vice-chair then criticised Patakyová's decision, saying that she was elected as ombudswoman partly thanks to votes from his party, SNS. He believes that "communities of others" are being misused to spread the neoliberal "gender" ideology aimed at dissolving the idea of traditional family. The coalition Most-Hid party responded, taking the side of its nominee in this conflict and telling Hrnko that democratically-minded politicians usually don't give ultimatums to the ombudswoman, who represents the rights of all Slovak people.

MEP Beňová was sharper in her Facebook post in which she praised the attitudes of Patakyová and Most-Hid while lambasting Hrnko. "In 15 days the Rainbow Pride event is taking place. Once again due to the lack of ability to address it, MP Hrnko, who was elected to Parliament (for incomprehensible reasons), started to preach about the ombudswoman and about his expectations," wrote Beňová.

SNS considers Beňová's attitude towards the LGBTI community to be purely opportunistic, ahead of the 2019 European Parliament elections. SNS also criticised Patakyová last year in connection with the Rainbow Pride event, when she flew the rainbow flag at her office and delivered a speech at the event.

The Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party joined the debate, taking the side of Most-Híd, with SaS caucus chair Natalia Blahová writing that "the classic family cannot be degraded when people of homosexual orientation enjoy the same rights as heterosexuals. The real dangers to the classic family are alcoholism, domestic violence, adultery and intolerance." She added that SNS ignores these issues, writing that SNS instead "resorts to a cheap ideology of hatred, built on prejudice, which conveniently enables the party to divert attention away from its own cases of graft in politics".

Gavin Shoebridge Foto: TASR

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