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Voters Repeal Marriage Equality Law In Slovenia

More than 60% of ballots cast this week supported repealing the country's marriage equality law, which was enacted by parliament in March.

Last updated on December 20, 2015, at 5:07 p.m. ET

Posted on December 20, 2015, at 2:59 p.m. ET

Darko Bandic / AP

LGBT rights activists wait for the exit polls results following same-sex marriage referendum in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Voters in the former Yugoslavian republic of Slovenia decided in a vote ending Sunday to repeal a marriage equality law enacted by the country's parliament in March.

Around 63% of people who cast ballots in the election voted to repeal the law, according to preliminary tallies. This gave repeal voters enough ballots to make the vote binding under the country's election laws, which require at least 20% of all the nation's voters to cast ballots for repeal regardless of the margin of votes cast. That meant the repeal vote needed at least 343,104 votes; they got more than 380,000

Slovenia became the only country in Central or Eastern Europe with marriage equality after its parliament enacted a new law in March.

But opponents forced a referendum on repeal by gathering 80,000 signatures.

Srdjan Zivulovic / Reuters

A woman casts a ballot at a polling station on Sunday.

A number of nearby countries have passed bans on marriage equality in recent years, including neighboring Croatia, which held a referendum in 2013.

Janez Janša, a former Slovenian prime minister who leads the conservative Slovenian Democratic Party, wrote on Twitter that the result was a victory for the "voices of reason" and the country's children.

Hvala vsem, ki ste se v kampanji pogumno izpostavili za dobrobit otrok in prihodnost Slovenije. In skoraj 400K glasovom razuma na voliščih.

In a statement, human rights group Amnesty Slovenia criticized the result as a civil rights setback for the LGBT movement in the region.

The group said the amended law was an act of discrimination against same-sex couples. "Same-sex couples should be allowed to marry, to be able to fully enjoy human rights without discrimination, just like couples of the opposite sex," the group said.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.