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The Murders Shocked Slovakia, But LGBTQ Rights Get No Mercy

The slaying of two men in a bar sparked outrage. The nation’s politicians are doubling down on their stance toward sexual minorities.

A protest following the murder of Matus Horvath and Juraj Vankulic in Bratislava, on Oct. 14.
A protest following the murder of Matus Horvath and Juraj Vankulic in Bratislava, on Oct. 14.

Photographer: VVladamir Simicek/AFP/Getty Images

Candles still flicker at a makeshift monument to the two men gunned down in a Bratislava bar. Yet in the month since the atrocity against the LGBTQ community, Slovakia’s initial shock and outrage have given way to anything but a reconciliation.

The men, Matus Horvath and Juraj Vankulic, were murdered by a 19-year-old student on Oct. 12. Thousands of people packed the streets that week to hold a vigil for the victims. More signs have emerged, though, that Slovakia is affirming rather than softening its conservative stance on minority rights, cementing the cultural division between the European Union’s east and west.