The people of Croatia yesterday December 1st, voted by an overwhelming majority that marriage in the Croation constitution should be defined as being between a man and a woman, thus rejecting recent moves by the current left wing government towards recognition of same sex unions.
Croatia, the newest and 28th member of the EU, held its first referendum initiated by citizens on December 1st. on the question: “Do you support introduction of a provision into the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia to the effect that marriage is a living union of a woman and a man?”
The result is a clear majority with approximately 2/3 of the electorate voting in favor of the wording: 65.8% of voters chose to preserve marriage as a union of a woman and a man, by asking their government to recognize it as such in their constitution (33,5% against).
The Prime Minister Zoran Milanović who had argued that the referendum threatened peoples right to happiness and choice was clearly taken aback by the result. When the result was apparent Milanović, who had pledged to push forward proposals to give greater rights to same-sex couples, said in a statement that: “This will be the last time that a majority takes away the rights of a minority.”
Croatian media all but ignored the outcome of this historic referendum and many international media outlets misrepresented the result as being anti gay rather than upholding the fact that marriage is a union between a man and a woman
For example Germany’s Berliner Zeitung reported, “To prevent equal treatment of homosexual relationships, the powerful Catholic Church forced the referendum against the will of the left-wing government”.
The BBC reported the result under the banner, ‘Croatians back same-sex marriage ban in referendum’, and ABC News reported, ‘Croatians Vote Against Same-Sex Marriage’.
The referendum does not in fact remove any internationally agreed human rights. Croatian citizens will continue to have the same rights after the vote as they did before the vote. The only thing that Croatians have called for through Sunday’s referendum is for their country’s constitution to recognize and protect the unique institution of marriage as being a man and a woman joined together in a life-long union.