Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

'Caution, another Cast Lead lies ahead'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Rising into the ranks of Haute Couture

Read more

DEBATE

Gaza: How to Stop the Spiral? Israel Readies For Ground Offensive

Read more

DEBATE

Gaza: How to Stop the Spiral? Israel Readies For Ground Offensive (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

A thin line between fact-checking and propaganda in Gaza social media coverage

Read more

#THE 51%

Sweden: A Feminist's Paradise?

Read more

FOCUS

Ireland's missing babies cast light on dark history

Read more

WEB NEWS

World Cup 2014: Germany-Brazil inspires the Web

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Boutros-Ghali: 'I wanted to reform the UN'

Read more

  • Amazon snubs French free delivery ban with one-cent charge

    Read more

  • Are French high school students getting smarter?

    Read more

  • Kurdish forces take over two oilfields in northern Iraq

    Read more

  • In Pictures: Petrol station hit by Hamas rockets

    Read more

  • Manhunt as FIFA partner flees Rio hotel to avoid arrest

    Read more

  • Video: Living in Tel Aviv, under threat of rocket attack

    Read more

  • Video: Palestinians fear full Israeli military offensive in Gaza

    Read more

  • US prepared to negotiate Gaza ceasefire, Obama says

    Read more

  • French companies will have to accept anonymous CVs

    Read more

  • Ukrainian forces close in on Donetsk

    Read more

  • Germany asks US intelligence station chief to leave country

    Read more

  • Video: Muslims in China confront obstacles to Ramadan fasting

    Read more

  • Tour de France passes WWI Chemin des Dames battlefield

    Read more

  • Senegalese man awarded French visa in gay marriage debate

    Read more

  • Obama in Texas to urge congressional action on child migrant crisis

    Read more

Europe

Croatians vote to ban same-sex marriage

© AFP (archive photo)

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-12-02

Some 65 percent of Croatians voted in a referendum Sunday to ban gay marriages in what is a major victory for the Catholic Church-backed conservatives in the European Union's newest nation. Croatia’s constitution does not currently define marriage.

A strong majority in staunchly Catholic Croatia voted on Sunday to outlaw same-sex marriage in a referendum sought by a Church-backed group but strongly opposed by rights groups, results showed.

A total of 65.76 percent of voters said they wanted to amend the constitution to include a definition of marriage as a "union between a woman and a man", according to results from almost 99 percent of polling stations released by the electoral commission.

As it stands, Croatia’s constitution does not define marriage.

The vote has divided European Union’s newest member nation. Liberal groups have said the referendum question infringes on basic human rights. Conservative groups, however, have gathered over 700,000 signatures in support of the vote.

Croatia, which has a population of 4.4 million, has taken steps to improve LGBT rights in recent years, but issues such as same-sex marriage remain highly divisive in the staunchly Catholic country.

In May, a Church-backed group called "In the Name of the Family" collected almost 700,000 signatures seeking a nationwide vote on the definition of marriage.

"We showed that we know, like David fighting against Goliath, how to direct our small slingstones in the same direction," the initiative's leader, Zeljka Markic, told her cheering supporters in their electoral headquarters late Sunday.

"This time for the protection of marriage, and next time for something else of the same importance," she added, without elaborating.

The vote's opponents denounced the referendum as discriminatory and warned it could pave the way for other conservative initiatives targeting minorities or on issues such as abortion.

'Sad and senseless'

Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic labelled the referendum "sad and senseless" and voiced hope it was the last vote on such an issue.

Analysts say economic troubles in the country -- which has been hit by a long recession that has left many unemployed and frustrated -- has boosted radicalism of all sorts.

"Today homosexuals are on the agenda, tomorrow it will be those who have bicycles, then people with dogs, Jews, we know how it goes," Ilija Desnica, a man in his 60s who said he voted "no," told AFP.

Despite Sunday's result, attitudes towards gay rights have slowly become more liberal in Croatia.

When the country's first Gay Pride parade was held in Zagreb in 2002, dozens of participants were beaten up by extremists.

But gay rights marches are now staged regularly, though still under heavy security. The issue is also discussed more openly in the media and homosexuals are less fearful of "coming out".

In 2003 Croatia adopted a law recognising same-sex couples who have lived together for at least three years - although apart from official acknowledgement, the measure grants them few rights.

Sunday's vote was the first citizen-initiated referendum since Croatia's independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP)

Date created : 2013-12-01

  • CROATIA

    Croatia celebrates as country joins the EU

    Read more

  • CROATIA

    Mired in recession, Croatia becomes 28th EU member

    Read more

  • CROATIA

    Croatia votes for first Europe MPs as accession looms

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)