Croatia officially joined the European Union on July 1 after a lengthy process which included, among many things, close scrutiny of Croatia’s human rights record. Croatia adopted a law banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in order to meet one of the conditions of EU membership. But now, a Croatian governmental commission has decided to take an opposite tack:
Croatia will hold a referendum on Dec. 1 to consider changes to the country’s constitution that would ban same-sex marriage, a parliamentary commission decided on Wednesday.
The commission voted 10-3 to hold a referendum on whether to constitutionally define marriage as being between a man and a woman. Croatia currently has minimal partnership protections in the form of “cohabitation agreements.”
J. Lester Feder at Buzzfeed reports that if the proposal passes in December, the proposed constitutional amendment would then go back to Parliament for a final vote before becoming official. “In theory,” Feder writes, “the Croatian people could vote to ban same-sex marriage and the parliament could then veto their decision.”
News of the vote came as top human rights officials from the U.S. and Europe were gathering for a meeting of the International Gay and Lesbian Association’s (IGLA) European branch in the Croatian capital of Zagreb. Croatia’s foreign minister Vesna Pusić seems to have been caught off guard, telling the conference that “We have a lot of uphill struggles ahead of us, one pretty close ahead of us.”