“In the Name of the Family,” a Croatian group backed by the Catholic Church, used the XX’s song “Intro” in their nationwide commercial calling for a ban on gay marriage, committing quite the faux pas, considering that two of the band’s members are openly queer.
“Obviously the band are completely at odds with what the movement stands for and want to take appropriate action,” said a letter written to members of the Croatian Parliament from a representative for the XX.
Gay Star News reports that the anti-gay group is estimated to have spent $8.5 million on a campaign asking for a referendum to add a constitutional ban on gay marriage.
Over 740,000 people signed a petition asking for the referendum to come to a vote in Croatia, which represents a quarter of the state’s population. This comes as no surprise in a Catholic stronghold, where 90% of the population declare themselves to be part of the church.
The referendum was started in response to the Social Democrat-led government of Croatia’s initiative to introduce sex education in schools, despite strong opposition from the state’s conservative political group, as well as the Catholic base in the country.
At that time, the Croatian government hinted that it planned to grant conjugal rights to same-sex couples, reports Reuters, which started the demands for a referendum intended to block that from happening.
Although the government of Croatia is now under obligation to review the referendum, in light of the 740,000+ signatures it has received, the effectiveness of the petition is in question, since same-sex couples are to be granted lifetime partnership privileges under a bill to be set forth by the government.
The referendum would call for an amendment to the constitution defining marriage as only between one man and one woman, which violates the Croatian’s constitutional ban on any form of discrimination, and would not impede the government’s intention of granting “lifetime partnership” privileges to gay couples.
“The question of the referendum…seems to be purely a political one,” reports Croatia Week.
Calls have been made on the Croatian Constitutional Court to decide on the validity of referendums on minority rights, and the ruling Social-Democratic party is considering legislation that would make minority rights off limits for such petitions.
“In this initiative I see a lack of tolerance towards a minority group. Marriage is not threatened by same-sex groups but by the modern way of life, the race to earn money,” Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic told state television.
The campaign clip promoting a “Yes” vote on the referendum, which featured the XX, has been removed in light of the absurdity of using gay musicians’ work to promote anti-gay legislation, and the group will soon decide whether to sue the campaign organizers over illegal use of their music.