On December 1, Croatia held a referendum on same-sex marriage. A majority, 65 percent, voted “yes” in favor of defining marriage as a “union between a woman and a man,” thus officially banning marriage equality.
On December 12, however, the Croatian government proposed a new bill on gay partnerships that will give them the same rights as heterosexual couples, except for the right to adopt children.
Just days after the referendum, the parliament began discussing same-sex partnerships, which President Ivo Josipovic has said should have legal protection.
Josipovic hopes that a law to protect homosexual couples would eradicate the feeling of inequality, especially since the referendum.
The law has not yet been approved by parliament, but Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said, “In a human sense and in terms of their status, this law will make same-sex partnerships and [heterosexual]marriages equal, but not entirely.”
Croatia joined the European Union in July. Since it hosted its first gay pride parade in 2002, attitudes have begun to become more liberal in the predominantly Catholic country.
In 2003, the government passed a law recognizing same-sex relationships if the couple had lived together for at least three years. However, this law gave them few rights, even if they were officially recognized.
The draft of the bill, set to be submitted for parliamentary vote in the coming weeks, specify improvement of health insurance rights as well as the same inheritance rights available to heterosexual couples.