Croatia to hold referendum against same-sex unions

Voting on 1/12 in country's first ever

08 November, 18:29

    (ANSAmed) - ZAGREB, NOVEMBER 8 - The Croatian parliament voted Friday overwhelmingly to hold a referendum on December 1 on same-sex marriages. The proposal had been put forward by conservative groups and Catholic associations against a potential introduction into the country of marriages between members of the same sex, report Zagreb media. Some 104 votes were cast in favour of the referendum out of 151 MPs, while only 13 were against it and five abstained. The referendum aims to insert into the Croatian constitution the definition of marriage as a ''union between a man and a woman''.

    In September the government confirmed the validity of the almost 700,000 signatures collected in May by an initiative linked to the Catholic Church called ''In the Name of the Family''. In Croatia (an EU member state since July) the law on the referendum calls for the signatures of 10% of eligible voters in the space of two weeks. The issue of a referendum on gay marriage has sparked lively social debate in Croatia over the past few months, in a country in which over 90% of the 4.2 million inhabitants are Catholic. LGBT rights activists have called the initiative discriminatory, while the centre-left government has repeatedly said it is against the proposal excluding outright the possibility of same-sex unions. Supporters of the referendum instead say that they wanted ''to prevent the repetition in Croatia of what happened in France'', where gay marriages were recently legalised. The voting in December will be the first referendum ever held in Croatia.(ANSAmed).

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