Gay rights issues are starting to come to the fore in Slovakia again in the run-up to the third annual Rainbow Pride march in Slovakia, planned for 9 June this year.
The event is never without some controversy or disruptions, and is accompanied by the maximum level of policy security, as extreme anti-gay elements are never far off and always looking to be heard.
In addition to being endorsed by a string of foreign ambassadors, Bratislava mayor Milan Ftacnik is also giving his support to the event, which promises to attract several thousand people to the city centre streets.
Mayor Ftacnik has come under attack, though, as a group of Christian activists resent the fact that he endorsed the public gathering of the LGBT community. SITA newswire reports how they sent him a collective letter requesting that he retract his public support for the event.
In response, spokesman for City Hall Lubomir Andrassy wrote that “Rainbow Pride is a fully legitimate expression of the opinion of a group of citizens, Bratislavians, even if this particular event invokes much more emotion in society than other gatherings”.
This year Rainbow Pride 2012 will start with three symbolic weddings (2 same-sex and one heterosexual), which is one of the liberties gay couples lack in real life, and to which the event is supposed to draw attention.
A recent comment made by newly elected MP Stefan Kuffa (with the quirky Ordinary People and Independent Personalities party) calling gays sick and in need of help also helped fuel debate over gay rights. This incident provoked gay rights activists to call for legislation that would make hateful comments aimed at homosexuals against the law, which would put Slovakia on a par with another 23 countries of Europe that already have such a law.