On Sunday the voters of Croatia approved a ban on same-sex marriage in a Catholic Church-sponsored national referendum that was strongly opposed by both the president and the prime minister. In a revenge move, yesterday the government declared that it will put forward a civil unions bill.
The outcome was a major victory for the Roman Catholic Church, and a blow to gay rights advocates. “This referendum was a pre-emptive strike against the possibility of introducing gay marriage in Croatia,” said Franko Dota, a political analyst and gay rights activist. “This was a referendum to humiliate the gay population, and to strike against the progress of the past decades.” Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic’s center-left government said on Monday that it would move ahead with a proposed bill to afford same-sex couples many of the legal rights enjoyed by heterosexual couples, including hospital visitation and inheritance rights, though the bill does not include the right to adopt children. Mr. Milanovic said he regretted that the referendum had even been held. “I think it did not make us any better, smarter or prettier,” he said.
Only 38% of registered voters turned out for the referendum, which passed by a 66% majority. (Tipped by JMG reader Evan)