Same-sex partnership bill faces uphill battle in Croatia

BY admin

March 18 2006 1:00 AM ET

Croatian ruling
party lawmakers in Zagreb on Friday criticized an
opposition draft bill proposing that gay couples be entitled
to register their partnerships, insisting that
same-sex relations are against God and nature. The
heated debate, during which several lawmakers made hostile
comments about gays, indicated that the bill, drafted by two
lawmakers from the left-center parties, will certainly
be rejected by the chamber, where the ruling party
controls the majority.
"The whole universe is heterosexual, from an
atom to a fly and an elephant," argued Lucija Cikes, a
parliament deputy from the conservative governing
Croatian Democratic Union, or HDZ.
The government had already recommended that
parliament reject the bill, and it is expected to do
so. Several smaller conservative parties also said
they would vote against it, making it impossible for the
bill to win the necessary 76 votes in the 151-seat chamber.
Croats "are Catholics and, as such, against
homosexual couples," said Karmela Caparin, another
ruling party deputy.
Homosexuality remains taboo in Croatia, where
nearly 90% of its 4.5 million people consider
themselves Roman Catholics. Even though attitudes have
relaxed somewhat in recent years, many gay people still
are intimidated and face violence. Earlier this month
several people were beaten up by a group that broke
into a gay party.
The two lawmakers who drafted the
bill—independent deputy Ivo Banac and Sime
Lucin from the Social Democrats, the main opposition
party—maintained that same-sex couples are
discriminated against in Croatia. They proposed that
the gay couples be granted the right to register their
partnerships, although not officially marry. Under the
draft bill, they would be given the same health, social
security, tax, pension, and inheritance rights as
heterosexual couples.
The Netherlands, Belgium, and Spain have
legalized marriage for same-sex couples. Several other
European countries, including the United Kingdom,
Denmark, Germany, France, and Slovenia, allow
same-sex couples to register their unions, as will the Czech
Republic, after a presidential veto of a partnership bill
was overridden Wednesday by Czech legislators. (AP)

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