Croatia passes law on same-sex unions

Couples granted sames rights except for adoption

15 July, 17:27

    (ANSAmed) - ZAGREB, JULY 15 - A law on civil partnerships was passed by the Croatian parliament on Tuesday, recognizing same-sex unions and granting them the same rights as those in traditional marriages with the exception of the right to adopt children. The parliament passed the law, drafted along the lines of its German counterpart, with 89 votes in favor mostly from center-left and liberal parties in the government coalition.

    Voting against the measure were 16 right-wing and center-right parties, which are not against the recognition of same-sex couples but object that the law is too liberal. Gay and lesbian couples in Croatia will thus from now on enjoy all the same rights and duties as married couples, such as inheritance rights, social benefits and tax deductions. Their unions will be called ''life partnerships'' and not ''marriage'', but are defined as a form of family and as such protected by the Constitution. The official ceremonies will be held in town councils. Despite not including the right to adopt, Croatia has made progress on this area as well. If a child does not have a second, officially recognized parent - or their other parent is dead - the same-sex partner of their biological parent will be able to become the legal guardian of the child, if they live with the couple. If the second biological parent is known and alive, then the partner of the homosexual parent will have the rights granted to step-parents. The law was objected to by center-right parties as well as the powerful Catholic Church and a group of ultra-conservative associations working to ''protect the traditional family''. Last year the latter campaigned for a referendum that - with 66% of votes in favor but with a very low turnout, at only 38% of those eligible to vote - amended the Constitution to define marriage as a union exclusively ''between a man and woman'', thus preventing same-sex marriages from being legalized even in the future. Center-left parties instead see the law as an important step towards fairer protection of human rights in the country.


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