Croatia | Gay Marriage

Initial Results Suggest That Croatia Has Voted to Constitutionally Ban Gay Marriage: VIDEO

Croatia Gay Rights Protest

Croatians on Sunday voted to constitutionally ban same-sex marriage on Sunday, the AP reports:

The state electoral commission, citing initial results, said 65 percent of those who voted answered "yes" to the referendum question: "Do you agree that marriage is matrimony between a man and a woman?" About 34 percent voted against.

The referendum was called by the "In the Name of the Family" conservative group after Croatia's center-left government drafted a law to let gay couples register as "life partners."

The Catholic Church leaders have urged their followers to vote "yes" in the referendum. Nearly 90 percent of Croatians are Roman Catholics.

CroatiaA Catholic-backed petition to push for the referendum received over 700,000 signatures from constituents, so now gays and lesbians must fight an uphill battle for their rights. The ballot measure was deliberately worded so abominably so that anyone reading the question without any sense of context would be more likely to answer "Yes."

Religion and family, as per usual, are the rationales behind denying gay couples equal rights. Croatia's Cardinal Josip Bozanic said in an open letter, "Marriage is the only union enabling procreation. This is the key difference between a marriage... and other unions." The Cardinal did not expand on what other legally-recognized unions Croatia offers to its citizens, nor did he address the issue of elderly, infertile, or deliberately childless couples and the validity of their marriages.

Croatia became a member of the European Union this past July, so it is possible that this ban could threaten the country's membership status as the EU's Copenhagen criterion explicitly forbids discrimination against minorities, and articles 10 and 19 of the EU Treaty and article 21 of the European Charter on Fundamental Rights forbid discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Watch a Euronews report on the vote, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Another backwater, backward country with catholic mafia support- no plans to visit anytime soon.

    Posted by: Joe | Dec 1, 2013 4:44:49 PM

  2. They will be more comfortable joining the Soviet Union or today's Russia than the EU.

    Posted by: simon | Dec 1, 2013 5:00:24 PM

  3. I'm surprised that 34% are progressive enough to have voted against the ban. You should remember these are a people who have been controlled by dictators and the Catholic Hierarchy for centuries and just a few generations ago were willing collaborators with Nazism.

    Posted by: andrew | Dec 1, 2013 5:02:29 PM

  4. The result, though disappointing, was expected. And the Catholic Church was, of course, going all out to push this through. The turn-out was low(ish). It's not surprising that the zealots, pushed by their religious leadership, had the incentive to get out and vote. Many politicians in power were opposed.

    As someone currently in Croatia, who participated in a positive pro-gay march yesterday in Zagreb, the encouraging news is that parts of the country (bless you, Istria!) voted against the referendum, a few places by a significant majority. Ultimately, this may bring greater visibility to the issue. And lest us Americans get up on our high horse, NC voted no less anti-gay just last year, Prop 8 passed a few short years ago, and a bunch of our non-equality states are no less backward.

    It's behind much of the EU but a far cry from Russia, I can assure you.

    Some scenes from yesterday's march in Zagreb:

    Posted by: Ernie | Dec 1, 2013 5:26:41 PM

  5. Good bye Croatia. Won't go there again.

    Posted by: barney | Dec 1, 2013 5:36:36 PM

  6. Croatia suffers from a severe infestation of Catholicism.

    Posted by: Stephen Rider | Dec 1, 2013 6:08:53 PM

  7. Thank you Ernie... very enlightening your perspective...I had no clue about the details...

    Posted by: George F | Dec 1, 2013 6:15:53 PM

  8. "Do you agree that marriage is matrimony between a man and a woman?"
    Unless something has been lost in translation this is a loaded stinker of a question!

    I think that "marriage is matrimony between a man and a woman" np problem - I just disagree that "marriage is ONLY matrimony between a man and a woman".

    Posted by: JamesB | Dec 1, 2013 6:25:43 PM


    In the worldwide treatment of Gays by the church, due to their numbers and their wealth, but they don't speak up.

    Who are we to criticize Croatia when we have the bish-holes like Cordileone, Dolan, et al, operating without protest by the flocks?

    Posted by: Bob | Dec 1, 2013 6:55:27 PM

  10. This is completely the fault of the European Union Parliament. EU policy is to allow member states to determine same-sex marriage. However, the EU has hinted (based on the Helsinki Accord on Human Rights) that all member states must prevent discrimination. It is very likely that this issue will head to the EU Court where these amendments will be ruled unconstitutional based on EU ruling doctrine. Then the Catholic Church will get the ass kicking it deserves as member state will not be allowed to pass such discriminatory laws. The EU needs to get some back bone and gay activists in Europe need to put sever pressure on the EU to do the right thing!

    Posted by: RK | Dec 1, 2013 7:27:46 PM

  11. @Bob: "without protest by the flocks" I think your comment fails to recognize that in poll after poll Catholics in the USA support marriage equality more than Protestants. You should also note that some of the most liberal/progressive states in the USA like Mass., R.I., Conn., California and N.Y have a majority or strong minority Catholic population. Also some of the strongest voices for LGBT equality in the U.S. Senate and House are Roman Catholics. Many if not most Catholics, even the regular church goers, ignore much of what the Catholic Hierarchy teaches. And as to the world stage, it is worthwhile to note that the "Catholic" countries of Spain and Portugal already have marriage equality. I don't think you should paint with such a wide brush.

    Posted by: andrew | Dec 1, 2013 8:38:52 PM

  12. I see that you are not wery informed.

    Croatia has a family law that expliitly states a marriage to be between a man and a woman. tHis action that was on referendum puts ti into the states constitution, so as not to be changed. In the same time, Croatia has in preparation a law which grants same sex couples the rights of the heterosexuals minus the name marriage for union and adopting.

    Your zealots that you see everywhere have little to do with churchches but a lot to oppose the goverment who is not very liked at the moment as they changed the way in which constitution can be amended to pass joining to EU. This was an object of revolt.

    Noone is even trying to stop the Croatians gay union law. The churhc organisations are in fact pleased with it.

    Also, you know that US is not the center of the world, and that other countries have different laws and are entitled to it, right?

    Posted by: Saturnalia | Dec 1, 2013 9:28:10 PM

  13. And for those who propose that EU have this or that ammendment, you know that there are movements in several countries to drop from EU, and the candidates just see these cultural blackmails and attacks on their traditional values as an added incentive not to join?

    Posted by: Saturnalia | Dec 1, 2013 9:30:30 PM

  14. Really? Are people actually thinking that something like this WONT pass there? Hell, it would pass in the US given only a southern vote.

    Posted by: zeddy | Dec 1, 2013 11:13:54 PM

  15. Nice to see there is one sensible country left in Europe.

    Posted by: Gregg | Dec 2, 2013 12:44:23 AM

  16. But now Croatia - in its shortsightedness - will now suffer the same fate as Italy now suffers from. By joining the EU, the young Croats can now relocate to better, more progressive places, leaving behind an aged population with no work force to support their needs which will accelerate the death of old people in Croatia until they are gone forever. Good job committing economic and social suicide Croatia! Get out while you can young people.

    Posted by: Daniel | Dec 2, 2013 3:39:39 AM

  17. Saturnalia is partly right and partly wrong, as usual.

    First of all, it's pretty easy to understand the difference between having marriage defined as man + woman in LAW and man + woman in the constitution. Exactly that move has happened in many states, the last being NC in 2012. It makes it just that much harder to move towards full equality, since it means you have to change the constitution again. There is no question that it is bad.

    There is indeed a partnership law still in the process of formation by the Croatian government.

    But it is naive to say that "Noone is even trying to stop the Croatians gay union law. The church organisations are in fact pleased with it."

    I have seen ZERO evidence that the church is pleased with the partnership law. In fact, it was the rumors of the possibility that the law might include adoption and be close to full marriage rights that led to the backlash that is "In the Name of the Family" and its "citizens initiative."

    Markić has hinted again and again that she will try to interpret the referendum broadly, as a vote against any kind of recognition for gay couples, and she has claimed again and again that the 2003 partnership law, which grants a measly 2 rights, actually grants ALL the same rights as marriage. She lies again and again. She lies when challenged. All with a sweet smile and her hands folded.

    They will next fight adoption or artificial insemination or surrogacy for gay couples, that much is clear, on the basis of this referendum, which was theoretically only about the word "marriage."

    We'll see in the next two weeks or so how it plays out.

    Most analysts in Croatia see it as a right-wing power-grab, but definitely hand in hand with the church. Funded by Opus Dei. The Catholic church was a major player, and sermons were read yesterday from every pulpit urging people to go out and vote. The church is closely identified with right-wing nationalist parties, including the radical Hrast, which failed in the elections, but then refocused its attention on this issue, even doing research to find what issue would resonate and energize the most people.

    LGBT issues / people being targeted as a tool to gain political power, rather like in Russia, alas.

    Posted by: KevinVT | Dec 2, 2013 4:30:18 AM

  18. Of course in Russia homophobia is much much worse and is being exploited by Putin with the full force of the media.

    In Croatia it's a marginal opposition group that has tried to exploit it, but they have been opposed both by the ruling government and by the media. Markić complained again and again that she wasn't treated fairly by the media, just because they occasionally pointed out her blatant lies.

    Posted by: KevinVT | Dec 2, 2013 4:46:17 AM

  19. KEVINVT, I do not know wheter you speak Croatiain or not, but if you try reading something other than index or jutarnji news services, which are nothing but the propaganda of Croatian leaders, and homosexual activists, you get pretty much the informations I submitted. No one is opposed to parthership law, if the adoption allowance is not implemented.

    As usual, I will repeat that not every coutnry law is for USA or EU to meddle with, nor every countryu need to adopt USA or EU views on anything that is contrary to its culture, tradition and morals.

    In several neighbourghing countries there will be similar referendums.

    And the Croatian governers and cultural elite got smacked by the ordianry people, people who are fed up with EU demanding this and that, after being blackmailed into joining.

    Posted by: Saturnalia | Dec 2, 2013 4:49:13 AM

  20. KEVINVT Markic has been misquated, by the major media, and they even fabricated unthruts for which they had to appologize. People are now angry that the whole media was biased and did not give equal respect to both sides. Just read index or jutarnji there is no hint of journalism there.

    HRT, Croatias governemnt network has started that way and then they got reprimanted by the several officials, so they had to drop their way of biased reporting.

    They even fabricated how Markics in the name of family stole some song or what not. Smear machine equal to Goebells was in full swing. ANd yet the people voted and had their say.

    Just hope for Serbia, Romania and Slovakia to implemet similar measures for registering some sort of same sex relationship. In Serbia there is much anger after the new book for schools which promotes homosexual to minors - not reporting facts, actually PROMOTING as something desired, I am trying to get the book, so I can slap it all over Towleroad and Joe. My. God to show homosexual agenda - for which they claim nonexistance - but it is complicated to import. The same book limits the family as a unit of FOUR OR LESS persons.

    Posted by: Saturnalia | Dec 2, 2013 4:57:49 AM

  21. Croatia is a major travel destination for Europeans, especially Germans. Gorgeous coast with the warm-water beaches Germany completely lacks.
    They are probably going to hurt their very important hospitality industry by doing this. I hope it causes serious economic harm.
    Time to boycott Croatia.

    Posted by: woody | Dec 2, 2013 5:33:26 AM

  22. KevinVT speaks fluent Croatian, @Saturnalia, and has availed himself of a wide range of media since we are in Croatia, so you needn't worry that he doesn't have a full picture of the referendum and its implications. TR readers can and should trust his perspective.

    Zeljka Markić is Croatia's Maggie Gallagher (she even resembles her in shape and hairstyle!) and traffics in the same propaganda as Maggie does, only worse. So take @Saturnalia's defense of her and the Catholic Church's so-called approval of partnership laws with an enormous grain of salt. He appears on every Eastern European thread with his scrambled anti-gay rants about the perils of "homosexual activism."

    Posted by: Ernie | Dec 2, 2013 6:07:57 AM

  23. Wow, perhaps Saturnalia is in the pay of U ime obitelji?

    I've followed all the media here and even read all the propaganda of the U ime obitelji themselves. When you watch a TV program or listen to a radio program with Markić speaking, it's hard to see how you can claim that is biased.

    Markić is the one who is like Goebbels, or rather like Eichmann in her banal evil. I've seen how she lies and talks over people.

    For example: the lie that the 2003 partnership law gave people all the rights of marriage. It gives only two rights, only after the couple splits up. Nowhere close to the many rights of marriage. Has she ever apologized for this lie that she repeated at least 3 times on the program?

    And they DID steal a song from the group XX without permission.

    And they DID steal a photo without permission and claim that it was a girl who didn't have a mother.

    Every time Markić is on a show she doesn't let people speak. She's like a tank. She doubles down and lies again.

    She touts the Regnerus study as if it's about gay couples raising kids. It's not.

    She claims there is serious scientific debate about whether gay people can change their orientation. There isn't.

    So this is the person Saturnalia is defending.

    400K + in Croatia supported tolerance. Rijeka supported tolerance. Istria supported tolerance.

    Saturnalia is for some reason for discrimination.

    Posted by: KevinVT | Dec 2, 2013 6:27:21 AM

  24. In the name of Family does not have pay since it was volunteers. In the East european region only ones who gets payed are non govremental organizations, as financed by the west.

    I do not know where you got that for XX gruopup, as that claim has been disprooved. You can go to google to find it, or read anything other than index or jutarnji.

    As for the attitude of someone in campaign, go see what primeminister and govrnement officvails are bawling on the TV since yesterday - they are threatening people who woted for constitutional inclusion of marriage definiton. Heck, even the Israeli officials have reprimanted them for their retoric which equates people who voted yes on referendum with nacists.

    There you go, they who were aginst had every media, save few, and every celebrity on their side, but people voted as they did.

    You do know that in Rijeka people were in some instances tricked that voting against meant voting against homosexuals, so they circled that and that Serbian regions, voted agianst as they wanted to make fun of Croatia?

    Posted by: Saturnalia | Dec 2, 2013 6:40:16 AM

  25. I am not for discrimination, KEVINVNT, I am howewer for the respecting of traditional culture, and morals of the people in eastern europe, something that EU and USA for that matter constantly thread upon. Just glad that it is not reserved for our people, as I see they have no idea how they insulted both Domincans and Ukraine recently - and seems to spat on Asia as well.

    400 k supported toelrance? What kind of statement is that? It was not about tolerance, referendum was for standing up against demands of EU that goes against the wishes of the people. What spin are you reading from? Jutarnji?

    As for insulting me -

    KEVINVNT, as for what Saturnalia is for,he would like to have ONE american show, or comic book,I am not very demanding that does not have to go all out to homosexual propaganda. That would make him very happy. Now they ruined Nashville too. Just glad I am boycotting more and more in the lieu of my suport for Card, anyway.

    As for TR readers, I think they should be more concerned with their own lives, and not what happens in some other country which has its own laws and regulation that does notconcerns them. Or, if they wish, how they have been manipulated into believing that that guy in Bridegroom did not commit suicide - as was stated in original video - and whole homosesxual community nis being used by a wannabe actor for his self promotion.

    Leave us to sort our own things.

    Posted by: Saturnalia | Dec 2, 2013 6:53:44 AM

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