Central PA's LGBT News Source
Five years after a referendum effectively banned gay marriage in Croatia, conservatives behind the vote will gather in a 5-star Zagreb hotel to mark the anniversary. Gay couples, however, have moved on to a new fight – for the right to foster or adopt children.
December 1 marks five years since Croatia voted in a referendum to define marriage as a union ‘between a man and a woman’, effectively banning gay marriage in the predominantly Catholic nation that only five months earlier had become the newest member of the European Union.
The main force behind the vote, the conservative group In the Name of the Family, will mark the occasion “and all the successes of the first five years” with a ‘donation dinner’ the following week at a downtown hotel in the Croatian capital, according to an invitation seen by BIRN.
Less than a year after the plebiscite, the Life Partnership Act gave gay couples in Croatia all the rights enjoyed by married heterosexual couples, with the exception of the right to foster or adopt a child.
LGBT activist Ivan Zidarevic and his partner were the first to register their life partnership at a ceremony performed in front of a registrar. Some 259 gay couples have since followed suit.
He recalled hearing about the plans of the then Social Democratic government to adopt the law.
“My partner, now my husband, and I said to ourselves, ‘Okay, we’re not going abroad. Croatia will adopt a law, we should be patient.”
“It is de facto marriage because we have literally all rights to social care, healthcare…,” Zidarevic, who is originally from Serbia, told BIRN. “Everybody knows about us - our neighbours, my banker, my boss.”
While Zidarevic says he and his partner have no plans for children, he noted that a draft Foster Care Act in Croatia makes no mention of gay couples.
The gay rights organisation Rainbow Family has called on Croatian MPs to include same-sex life partners in the final text of the act and thus demonstrate that “Croatia stands side by side with counties such as Germany and Ireland in treating their citizens equally.”
Here is a timeline of the fight so far:
HNS deputy Milorad Batinic said the draft, in excluding same-sex couples, “would denigrate the entire Life Partnership Act as well as some parts of the constitution.”
Currently, a single person has the right to foster, but a person in a same-sex marriage does not.
Some members of the ruling Croatian Democratic Alliance, HDZ, have said allowing same-sex partners to foster children would go against their beliefs.