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Croatia: Constitutional Amendment Banning Gay Marriage Passed by Referendum

(Jan. 13, 2014) On December 1, 2013, a national referendum was held in Croatia on the inclusion in the country’s Constitution of the definition of marriage as a union between a woman and a man. About 65% of the voters supported the amendment and the proposed definition. Immediately after the referendum, a government spokesperson confirmed that the Constitution will be changed to reflect the amendment. (Croatians Back Same-Sex Marriage Ban in Referendum, BBC NEWS (Dec. 2, 2013).)

The amendment will be done in the national legislature, where 104 out of 151 members supported the amendment. (Id.) The referendum was initiated “after approximately 700,000 people signed a petition launched by a conservative group seeking a vote.” (Kimberly Bennett, Croatia to Hold Referendum on Same-Sex Marriage, PAPER CHASE NEWSBURST (Nov. 8, 2013).)

Croatia, as the newest European Union Member State, having joined in July 2013, attempted to improve gay rights in the country, but the issue of same-sex marriage “remains highly sensitive.” The European Union has not officially commented on the referendum, because regulation of same-sex rights is left to each Member State. (Croatians Vote to Ban Gay Marriage, THE GUARDIAN (Dec. 1, 2013).)