Croatia to recognise same-sex civil unions by year-end
Partial adoption rights possible
ZAGREB, AUGUST 2 - Croatia is drawing up a law on same-sex civil unions to provide equal rights to them as to heterosexual married couples, possibly including adoption rights. The announcement was made on Friday by Public Administration Minister Arsen Bauk in an interview with the Zagreb newspaper Jutarnij List. Same-sex couples will enjoy all the rights and responsibilities of any other married couple, such as inheritance from a deceased partner, social security benefits and tax deductions, but their union will ''not be called 'marriage', but 'life partnership' '', said the minister. He went on to say that the ceremonies would be held in town councils, as is the case with marriages.
The centre-left government has repeatedly said that adoptions will not be allowed, although it is weighing whether to bring in the right ''of one member of the couple to adopt the biological child of the other, if the natural parent is unknown or no longer alive''. Many lesbian couples live in Croatia, one of which has conceived through artificial insemination by an unknown donor, and ''it is now important that the State recognise this reality and gives guarantees even to the other mother''. Last month a group of organisations close to the Catholic Church collected 750,000 signatures (almost 20% of voters) to call a referendum that would insert into the Constitution the definition of marriage as a union exclusively ''between a man and a woman'', thereby de facto prohibiting same-sex marriages.
It is not yet known whether the referendum will be held, but the political parties in the government are against it. (ANSAmed).