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Bosnia-Herzegovina: Draft Anti-Discrimination Law Creates Controversy over Gay Marriage Rights

(July 10, 2009) It was reported on June 3, 2009, that the Inter-Religion Council of Bosnia, a representative body of the Catholic, Orthodox, Muslim, and Jewish communities established after the 1992-1995 civil war in that country in order to foster better cooperation among ethnic groups, has taken an uncharacteristic unified stance against a draft law that might legalize gay marriage. Adoption of the draft law on the prevention of discrimination in Bosnia and Herzegovina is a key condition for the country's securing visa-free status with European Union Member States. It has passed the first reading in the Bosnian House of Representatives; amendments to the draft legislation proposed by the Inter-Religion Council were not included in the adopted version.

The Council's legal expert was quoted as stating that β€œ[i]f the law is adopted in both houses of Parliament in the second reading without amendments, it will enable gay couples to legally marry and adopt children.” Zoran Koprivica, of the Bosnian Parliament's Human Rights Commission, acknowledged that β€œthe law does not specify any rights for the gay population, but that can be read between the lines. We are aware that because of our traditions and customs, this law will raise a huge storm. But if we fail to adopt it, we will completely distance ourselves from Europe.” (Srecko Latal, Bosnia's Religions Unite Against Gay Marriages, BALKANINSIGHT, June 3, 2009, available at