Croatia Government Aims to Pass Civil Unions Bill
Croatia’s LGBT community suffered a huge blow on Sunday when citizens voted in a referendum to ban same-sex couples from marrying. The country’s government officials, however, vowed on Monday to green light plans for a law that would allow the couples to enter into a civil partnership, the New York Times reports.
According to legal experts, the Sunday vote has deeply polarized the country’s 4.5 million citizens after the majority of them agreed to amend Croatia’s Constitution to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Experts added that family law already defines marriage in the traditional sense but the referendum vote would make the possibility of legalizing gay marriage in the future much more difficult.
"This referendum was a pre-emptive strike against the possibility of introducing gay marriage in Croatia," Franko Dota, a political analyst and gay rights activist, said. "This was a referendum to humiliate the gay population, and to strike against the progress of the past decades."
Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said on Monday that the country’s center-left government would now try to pass a bill that would allow same-sex couples to enter civil unions, which would grant them several rights heterosexual couples have, including hospital visitation rights and inheritance rights. The bill, however, does not include the right to adopt.
Milanovic also voiced his disappointment about the referendum’s outcome, saying that "it did not make us any better, smarter or prettier."
According to the state electoral commission, 66 percent of those who voted answered yes to the question, "Do you agree that marriage is matrimony between a man and a woman?"
Though, the turnout was low as only about 38 percent of registered voters cast ballots. According to analysts the low number of voters suggests that citizens are more concerned about the economy and 18 percent unemployment rate than marriage equality.