Parliament calls marriage referendum for Dec 1
The Croatian Parliament on Friday called a referendum at which Croatian citizens will decide if they want the constitution to define marriage as a heterosexual union for December 1.
Of those present in parliament today, 104 deputies were in favour, 13 were against and five abstained.
This will be the third state referendum in Croatia's history and the first to have been called based on the signatures collected from citizens.
More than 740,000 citizens supported the civic association "In the Name of the Family" with their signatures and the NGO submitted the signatures to parliament four months ago, after the collection of the necessary number of signatures in June.
The parliamentary Committee on the Constitution then proposed that a decision be adopted under which people at the referendum would decide only on launching the constitutional changes, about which parliament would have a final say.
The Constitutional Court then issued a warning saying that the referendum to initiate constitutional changes at the request of the "In the Name of the Family" initiative would have immediate legal effect if a majority of citizens said 'yes' to the referendum question, which is contrary to intentions for parliament to subsequently decide on the changes.
The Committee on the Constitution yesterday unanimously adopted amendments by the opposition Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) to a draft decision to call for December 1 the referendum as earlier planned.
Deputies in parliament today rejected the proposal by independent deputy Jadranka Kosor and the local HGS party to ask the Constitutional Court to assess if the referendum issue was in line with the Constitution, which is why deputies of the Croatian People's Party, a junior partner in the ruling coalition, voted against calling the referendum.
Our 'No' doesn't put coalition at risk, says HNS MP
The decision by the Croatian People's Party (HNS), a junior partner in the ruling coalition, not to vote for the parliament's decision to set for 1 December a referendum on the constitutional definition of marriage as a union of a woman and a man, does not jeopardise the (SDP-led) coalition, HNS parliamentary whip Jozo Rados said on Friday afternoon.
The Croatian Parliament on Friday called the referendum, at which Croatian citizens will decide if they want the constitution to define marriage as a heterosexual union, for December 1. Of those present in parliament today, 104 deputies were in favour, 13 were against and five abstained.
Some of the HNS MPs voted against this decision, and some abstained.
Rados said that three subject matters were at stake: the right of citizens to have a referendum to give their opinions on some issues, the protection of minorities, and the Constitution.
"We do not believe that we have created preconditions for such serious and big topics to be settled in the right way," Rados said after the vote.