Via J. Lester Feder at Buzzfeed:
Pope Francis gave his blessing on Wednesday to a referendum that would ban marriage and adoption rights for same-sex couples in Slovakia, which will be voted on this Saturday. “I greet the pilgrims from Slovakia and, through them, I wish to express my appreciation to the entire Slovak church, encouraging everyone to continue their efforts in defense of the family, the vital cell of society,” Francis said during Wednesday’s general audience in Rome. “For first time in Slovak modern history the Catholic Church is heavily involved in political campaign,” said Martin Macko, executive director of the LGBT rights group Inokost. The Slovak referendum follows the success of a similar ballot measure in another Catholic-majority Eastern European country, Croatia, which adopted a ban on recognizing the marriages of same-sex couples in December.
As I reported in October 2014, this weekend’s referendum is being pushed by the Alliance Defending Freedom, who filed a local amicus brief even though Slovakia had already approved a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in June 2014, earning lavish praise from Brian Brown. The coming vote would essentially affirm that ban and widen it to include any recognition of same-sex relationships. Two related bills on the ballot would ban same-sex couples from adopting children and allow parents to withdraw their children from sex education classes.
Last week Right Wing Watch reported that Brown sent out an email blast asking supporters to join an anti-gay petition launched by CitizenGo, the Madrid-based anti-gay group where he serves on the board of directors. The petition urges Slovaks to vote in favor of the bills. Also supporting this weekend’s vote is the World Congress of Families, another group Brown works with. In September 2014 Brown and World Congress of Families leaders attended a Kremlin summit which concluded with a formal written call for more nations to impose Russian-style anti-gay legislation.
Yet another organization backing the referendum is C-FAM, the viciously anti-gay Catholic group headed by Breitbart columnist Austin Ruse (above right), who was fired by the American Family Association last year after declaring during an AFA radio guest-hosting gig that liberal college professors should “all be taken out and shot.” From C-FAM’s website:
As was to be expected, the sodomist pressure group inside the European Parliament is furious. While they had no problem with narrow parliamentary majorities redefining marriage to include same-sex “marriages” in France, Spain, and other countries (usually without the matter having been discussed in the preceding electoral campaigns…), they abhor the idea that ordinary people should have their say on the matter. Sophie Veld, a Dutch MEP and leader of the homosexualist and pro-abortion lobby, described the forthcoming referendum as “distasteful”, thereby betraying her own rather selective adherence to human rights and democratic procedures. We, however, are looking forward to the outcome of this democratic vote.
Buzzfeed notes that the local Catholic Church is being evasive about their role in the referendum:
The leadership body of the Catholic Church in the country, the Conference of Slovak Bishops, has walked an awkward line around the referendum. On the one hand, the bishops have given full-throated support to the proposal, including endorsing the referendum in a televised mass and pastoral letter on Feb. 1. The conference also appears to have solicited funds to support the Alliance for Family through a page on its official website. On the other hand, it has bristled at the suggestion that the referendum is the creation of the church. “The referendum itself is an initiative of civil society; it’s not primarily of the church,” said the conference’s spokesman, Father Martin Kramara, in an interview with BuzzFeed News.
Per Slovakian law, at least 50% of all registered voters must cast a ballot in order for a law to be valid. That rule reportedly gives local LGBT activists some hope and they are urging Slovaks not to vote at all rather than vote against the three proposed bills. But with Pope Francis now aligning himself with some of the most powerful US-based anti-gay hate groups, that tactic may prove futile, particularly because of Slovakia’s small population.
Still, the Economist notes that three out of four recent national referendums failed to meet the 50% threshold, with only the 2003 vote to join the European Union succeeding. Should the bills be approved, LGBT activists have vowed to take the issue to EU courts. Whatever the outcome, Slovakia will remain the leading example of US-based religious groups off-shoring their hatred of LGBT people because they increasingly find little traction at home. Our wins are the world’s loss.