Checking signatures for marriage referendum

09. July 2013.

The parliamentary Committee on the Constitution, Standing Orders and Political System on Tuesday adopted a conclusion recommending that the Sabor ask the government to checks citizens' signatures gathered in May by a civil society initiative, 'In the name of the family', calling for a referendum.

The civil society initiative, 'In the name of the family' in June brought to the Sabor nearly 750,000 signatures calling for a referendum by which marriage would be defined in the Constitution as a union between a man and woman, and today's conclusion is in keeping with usual procedure in cases of civil initiatives calling for a referendum.

The government is required to check the number and verify the signatures and report the results to the Sabor.

The committee rejected a proposal by opposition Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) member of the committee, Vladimir Seks, that a deadline be set for the check to be completed by 15 September. The committee upheld a proposal by the ruling coalition's Croatian People's Party (HNS) member Goran Beus Richembergh that the civil society initiative be requested to provide additional explanations.

In a letter submitted to the Sabor, the initiative suggests the manner in which the provision would be incorporated into the Constitution if it passes the referendum.

Beus Richembergh requested that the initiative explain whether the particular article of the Constitution which would define marriage as a union between a woman and a man was part of the question presented to citizens while collecting signatures and if not, when was it added to the text of the referendum question.

During the debate, MPs of the ruling coalition and external committee members warned of the need to better define the Law on Referendums as well as the need to analyse the constitutionality of the referendum question.

Seks pointed out that this was already part of the procedure which is conducted once the Sabor receives a report from the government on the signature check.