Carnival organizers in the town of Imotski, Croatia are under fire from Croatian president Zoran Milanovic, government officials, and LGBTQ rights group after they burned an effigy of a kissing gay couple with a child as part of annual carnival celebrations.
Balkan Insight reports: “Each year, carnivals across Dalmatia select new figures to feature as effigies, often selecting things or people that have made local inhabitants upset and angry. Part of the effigy burned in Imotski clearly showed the face of Social Democratic Party MP Nenad Stazic, who has campaigned in parliament for same-sex couples to be allowed to foster children. His character had also a red star on his forehead, the symbol of former communist Yugoslavia. When local media outlet Slobodna Dalmacija asked the carnival organisers why they had chosen a same-sex couple as an effigy to burn, one said: ‘We remain conservative, sticking to tradition. Give the baby to a mother, as the saying goes. We think that’s right.’ The torching comes after the Constitutional Court published a ruling at the end of January that obliges courts and relevant authorities to give all competent appliers to foster equal opportunities, including same-sex couples. The ruling was welcomed by human rights organisations but criticised in socially conservative circles.”
Said Milanovic on Facebook: “The symbolic burning of the same-sex partners with a home-made child in Imotski is sad, unpleasant and totally unacceptable act under the cover of the carnival celebrations. Hatred and inhumanity are not and will not be a Croatian tradition. I am looking for their public apology and explanation from the institutions responsible, especially since many children watched it and thus witnessed the spread of hate and encouragement of violence.”