Croatia flagPost submitted by Rebecca Parks, former Associate Director, HRC Global

Despite opposition from the political leadership of the country, Croatia voted to ban marriage equality on Sunday.  In a low turnout election, 66 percent of those who turned out voted in favor of the ban. 

The day before, more than 1,000 activists braved the bitterly cold weather to rally in Zagreb against a ban on marriage equality and six government ministers posted a YouTube video explaining their opposition to the referendum.   A group known as “In The Name Of The Family” was behind the campaign to pass the referendum, which also received support from the Roman Catholic hierarchy.

Following the vote, Croatia’s president, prime minister and members of the European Parliament expressed disappointment over the outcome.  Despite the passage of the referendum, the government still plans to move forward in the coming days with legislation granting greater rights to same-sex couples. 

Much like we saw in the U.S. over the past 10 years, Europe is now facing a wave of anti-equality movements at the ballot box.  Elsewhere in Eastern Europe, Lithuania is considering a series of proposed anti-gay laws and activists in Croatia now fear that the success of Sunday’s referendum could lead to more efforts to roll back human rights at the ballot box.

Filed under: International, Marriage

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