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news 15 Jul 14

Gay Campaigners Celebrate Victory in Croatia

New law adopted on Tuesday grants same-sex couples most of the rights that married couples enjoy, except in the field of adoption.

Sven Milekic
BIRN
Zagreb

Croatia’s parliament has adopted a Law on Life Partnership, giving same-sex unions most of the same rights that married couples enjoy. The Law was passed on Tuesday with 89 votes for and 16 against.

The initiative for the law came from the centre-left government, especially from the Minister for Social Politics and Youth, Milanka Opacic, and the Ministry of State Administration, Arsen Bauk.

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

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

Although the law does not allow same-sex couples the right to adopt, it gives those that already live with children the same rights as other couples.

Marko Jurcic, from Zagreb Pride organization, said the final text of the law was much better than the first version.

“Life partnership is made in every way equal to marriage, even regulating children already living in same-sex unions,” Jurcic noted, adding that adoption rights remained the only essential area of difference.

“Adoption was ruled out as a possibility from the beginning, so it is not a surprise,” he said.

“What surprised us is that life partnership has been much better defined than we could have imagined,” he stressed, adding that the law “actually defined a same-sex union as a form of family”.

“We’re very pleased, this is a huge step forward for Croatia,” Jurcic concluded.

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