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San Marino bans discrimination based on sexual orientation

The small Republic of San Marino, situated on the Italian peninsula.
The small Republic of San Marino, situated on the Italian peninsula.
By Viola Stefanello
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Citizens of San Marino have voted by referendum to insert a clause prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in their country's constitution


Citizens of San Marino, one of Europe's smallest countries, have chosen to ban discrimination based on sexual discrimination by constitution. The motion passed with 71.46% of votes in a referendum on Sunday.

The enclave state, home to around 33,500 people and independent since 301 AD (CE), has become the eleventh country in the world to include LGBT rights directly into its constitution, joining the UK, Sweden, Portugal, Malta, Bolivia, Ecuador, New Zealand, Mexico, South African and the Fiji Islands.

The result of the referendum means that article 4 of the San Marino constitution, listing all the specifications on which the principle of equality applies before the law, will now include the clause "without any discrimination on the base of sexual orientation".

The measure is the latest step in San Marino's evolving attitude towards LGBT rights. Until 2004, homosexuality in the country was punishable with 3 to 12 months of jail time. In 2018, the parliament passed a law legalising civil unions for same-sex couples.

Repubblica di San Marino e diritti LGBT: Referendum costituzionale introduce il divieto di discriminazione per...

Publiée par Marco Tonti sur Lundi 3 juin 2019

"It's a huge success, backed by a popular and conscious vote", wrote Italian LGBT activist Marco Tonti, who has been working in collaboration with advocates in San Marino since the law on civil unions, on Facebook. "I hope this exceptional success acts as a sign and a warning outside of the borders of San Marino, especially for Italy".

"We hope that this success is only the first step of a popular season full of recognition of new rights on all fronts, animated by a profound and fruitful debate, starting with the law proposal on voluntary interruption of pregnancy that will soon be discussed, up to equally fundamental issues such as end of life treatment", commented the committee that pushed for the law on civil unions in 2018 in a press release.

The Christian Democrats, San Marino's main conservative party, did not take a stand on the referendum.

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