Croatia, the European Union’s newest member, recently held a referendum on a proposed ban on same-sex marriage.
A large majority—64.84 percent—of the strict Catholic country voted “yes” in favor of the legislation, which would constitutionally define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
The Catholic Church backed the ban but has received a strong opposition from rights activists, center-left government and prominent public figures, all of whom have publicly spoken out against it.
According to Time World, the Croatian President, Ivo Josipovic, spoke out against the referendum: “Defining marriage between a man and a woman doesn’t belong to the constitution. A nation is judged by its attitude toward minorities.”
The Prime Minister, Zoran Milanovic, also argued against it, and has pledged to push pro-LGBT rights in the coming months.
On November 30, hundreds of gay rights supporters protested against the ban in Zagreb. Back in May, however, over 700,000 people signed a petition drawn up by a group called “In the Name of the Family,” which was backed by the Catholic Church seeking a vote on the definition of marriage.
The referendum also received 104 out of 151 “yes” votes from parliamentary members, showing a vastly conservative government.
Despite this majority vote, considering around 90 percent of the country is Roman Catholic, still around 35 percent of the country voted “no” in the referendum. Even though a minority, over one-third of the country voting “no” shows that attitudes are gradually shifting since the first Pride event was held in Zagreb in 2002.