news 25 Jun 14

Croatia to Legalise Same-Sex Partnerships

A draft law enabling same-sex civil partnerships could be approved by MPs next month, despite a referendum last year in which Croatians voted for a ban on gay marriage.

Sven Milekic

The legislation allowing gay couples the right to civil partnerships will be put to parliament before its summer break, meaning that the first same-sex partnerships could be registered by the end of July.

The move comes after 65 per cent of Croatian electors voted in a referendum last December to define marriage exclusively as a “union between a man and a woman”, putting a constitutional ban on gay marriage.

But Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said that the new legislation that “is not offensive to anyone”.

“It’s a humane law, an inclusive and not an exclusive law,” Milanovic said.

The legislation defines the statutory rights of same-sex couples in areas such as inheritance, pensions, tax and medical care.

Although it does not allow same-sex couples to adopt, it regulates those that already live with children.

The legislation, which comes after a ten-year campaign by gay rights activists, was hailed as a breakthrough.

After a campaign that has lasted for 10 years, NGO’s advocating LGBT rights made a major breakthrough for the LGBT Community.

“Although the law is a bit conservative and doesn’t enable adoption, it is essential for same-sex couples. It gives couples legal recognition, all major rights, and is satisfactory in every way,” campaigner Daniel Martinovic from Zagreb Pride told BIRN.

“In addition, we would like to enable lifetime partnerships for heterosexual couples, thus ending this ‘segregation’,” he added.

But the conservative pressure group ‘In the Name of the Family’, which has campaigned for a ban on gay marriage, complained that “the law does not respect the citizens’ will formulated in the referendum on marriage”. 

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