Croats set constitutional bar to same-sex marriage

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Croats voted overwhelmingly in favor of defining marriage in the constitution as a "union of man and woman" on Sunday, a move initiated by Roman Catholic groups but criticized by opponents as discrimination against homosexuals.

Almost 66 percent of those who voted in the referendum in the new European Union member endorsed the initiative, launched by the Catholic group "In the Name of the Family", according to preliminary results on Sunday night. Turnout was 37 percent.

The group had gathered over 740,000 signatures in support of the referendum, forcing parliament to call the vote.

The Social Democrat-led government disagreed with the referendum's demand, but the outcome was no surprise in a morally conservative country where 90 percent of the population of 4.4 million say they are Catholic.

Written By: Zoran Radosavljevic
continue to source article at reuters.com

12 COMMENTS

  1. Almost 66 percent of those who voted in the referendum in the new European Union member endorsed the initiative,

    A “good” solid RCC sheeple vote for dogma complete with faith-blinkers and the “dogma locks” firmly on the brains.

    launched by the Catholic group “In the Name of the Family”, according to preliminary results on Sunday night. Turnout was 37 percent.

    Ah! “The family” Don’t the god-delusions love to present themselves as representing anybody and anything that might make them look good to viewers!

    The Social Democrat-led government disagreed with the referendum’s demand,

    Ah! – but since when did sheeple voters listen to anyone who disagreed with their priests?

    That’s the thing about referenda! They ignore all the expert advice, and ask the opinions of thousands of people who have no idea. – but it is “politically perfect”! The politicians can claim none of the blunders are anything to do with them.

  2. Let’s look on the bright side here. We now have some numbers put to this problem. As Hitch once said, “At least I know what I’m dealing with.” The gay community and all progressives in that society will now make a realistic appraisal of the situation and make a solid plan of attack. Based on the learning curve that Americans have shown here on this subject, I expect the Eastern Europeans will follow a similar path.

    Here in my state of Massachusetts we tried to get Death with Dignity law passed in the last election. The Catholic church was foaming at the mouth over this for months in advance. Priests were railing against it in church with threats of hell for anyone who didn’t vote against it. In the end, it was narrowly defeated. We were taken by surprise this time but it will be back on the ballot again sometime in the future and this time we’ll be ready. I intend to volunteer with picket signs or whatever else is necessary.

    Unfortunately, this Croatian anti-gay legislation is a Constitutional amendment ! Not just a law…Hmmm, I wonder if they’ve ever heard of the American prohibition of the 1920′s here. It was also a Constitutional amendment that resulted in the death rate of drinkers spiking high right through the roof. An absolute disaster. Repealing it was a long dragged out ordeal. Writing puritanical morality into the Constitution is a scary thing.

    I wonder if the Croat gay rights movement can get some help from the international gay rights community and maybe from the international human rights groups too. There’s much to be done here.

  3. These people are religious loony toons. One of my oldest friends, from schooldays, was cycling in Croatia when he had a freak accident, came off, and banged his head on a rock. He was brain dead. The Catholic hospital put him on a life support machine and refused to turn it off. His family were faced with a bill for many thousands of pounds to get him home in an air ambulance so that a more reasonable doctor could throw the switch.

    I’m not quite sure why we let them into the EU. Their accession seems premature to me.

    • In reply to #5 by Stevehill:

      I’m not quite sure why we let them into the EU. Their accession seems premature to me.

      I often wonder whether it is better to engage directly with countries that restrict the rights of minority groups or to keep them out in the cold. Keeping them in the cold may superficially seem attractive but it may only serve to maintain the status quo — that is to keep them in their cultural ghetto.

      I think it’s better to engage — things like tourism, student exchanges, business interactions, and other cross-cultural fertilization that will come with Croatia’s EU inclusion. By allowing them into the EU, hopefully, with time, their attitudes to, say, gay marriage rights, will change.

      I’m hopeful that the younger generations especially begin to align their thoughts with those of their contemporaries in the rest of the continent — I’m thinking of “Northern” Europeans like the Dutch, Germans, Swiss, Scandinavians and even Brits and French. One can but hope.

      It will also be fun to see how this law stands up against EU law.

    • In reply to #5 by Stevehill:

      These people are religious loony toons.

      Well, this is a disappointing comment to read here from a fellow atheist.. I’ve been following this website for a long time now but only signed up moments ago because I felt I had to write a few words about this discriminating constitutional definition of marriage in my country.

      I was born and have been living in Croatia my whole life (I’m in my early forties now) and have been an atheist for the same amount of time :) I’m from Dalmatia where the Catholic church has and always had a strong influence in public, but ever since we broke up with communism (thank God for that ;-)), it’s been ever more tough to publicly speak my atheist views and not be considered “strange” at the least, if not being characterized worse. In that sense, I totally understand and am everyday more horrified with the devastating influence which is being pushed together by religious authorities and (most of the time) by conservative governments which had ruled for the most of the time since 1990.

      This is exactly why I can emphatize with any minority whose rights are being suppressed by politicians and religios leaders only to gain political power and votes with the (sadly..) increasingly ignorant masses, because this is exactly what’s going on here, and nothing more. I’m very sad to see that many people here are more concerned with what’s going on in somebody else’s beds than with the increasing powerty and not seeing the end to the economy crisis which only seems to be getting worse every year. It’s sad to see that every new generation of young people is more conservative and ignorant than the one before it, it’s sad to talk to young people who strongly believe their priests and spiritual leaders are the ultimate source of wisdom and knowledge..

      As samuel vimes wrote, years of indoctrinating young people from the early ages through public school are taking their toll, and now we have young generations who largely declare themselves as Christians, still their behavior (in the sense of common decency, morality and culture) has never been worse than now.. This is a big irony when you think about the moral argument that the religious so often like to impose against atheism. This goes as far as many people thinking they can behave beyond any “earthly” law beacuse they only “answer to God” – this is something we see more often and more aggressive..

      Having written all this (and in danger of writing the longest comment ever :-)), I would like to say a few more things:

      My whole family (mom, dad, sister) are all Catholics, as their parents and grandparents and generations before them. I’m happilly married (civil :-) to a beautiful woman who says her prayers every night, but these are all gentle and loving, decent people and I never had any problems with them. They have all been raised in that tradition but have also been raised to respect and love other human beings. I’m actually surrounded by many nice people who are more or less devoted Christians. What’s going on here is that these common and decent folks are being manipulated and used – they are being sold bad ideas masked as “higher causes” and “divine laws” by pointing fingers on the week – this is the ugly face of exploiting the “democracy” here.. The more uneducated and ignorant the poeople are – it’s easier to manipulate them…

      Still I don’t like reading these comments which characterize the whole nation as “religious loons” – most of the people here, like anywhere in the world, are common, hard working folks, worried about their jobs (or lack of :-() and their loved ones. This is exactly where religous / political manipulation fits in… sadly… One more thing, the only catholic hospital in Croatia is the psychiatric hospital which only exists for 2 years, as far as I know. So Stevehill’s unfortunate friend could not have been held on life support in a catholic hospital, and the public health workers in this country are among the most educated people here so it would be wrong to think of Croatian public health as being held for a hostage by religious zaelots..

      @Modesti: It’s sad to hear from a fellow countryman he / she never felt any pride for belonging to this nation or had never been “for” this country.. I am unfortunately, like many people around me, part of a generation which had experienced that ugly war on its back, not because we wanted it, but because it was imposed on this country and this people. I am proud to have fought for the independence of my country, proud of my national identity (which has dark spots on its history like any other nation), of our heritage and culture and that only makes me stronger in expressing my atheist and humanist beliefs. I don’t want to let this country be taken over by aggressive and primitive manipulators.

      A few words about the referendum itself: It only reserves the word “marriage” for the oppositte sex unions, but the law is actually being passed to the parliament by the current government, which will make same sex unions equal in practically all respects to the opposite sex unions apart from the word “marriage” itself. This is very important though the taste is still bitter after this referendum showed the rise of ignorance and intolerance towards the different.

      Hopefully this has not been the longest comment in the history of this website, but I just had some things on my heart I had to write here.. What’s been happening here is not exclusive to my country, it does happen in many corners of the world, so I do hope noone of good heart feels unwelcome to my homeland. All the best to all good people, and big thanks to Mr. Dawkins and the whole fellow atheist community here for your efforts in promoting science and education as the most important means against primitivism and intolerance.

      • In reply to #10 by deckard:

        Really appreciate the well-expressed and heartfelt comment! It is too easy to lump and entire country, or continent, for that matter, into one. I do that too, sometimes. The world needs more people like you to correct others when they make this mistake. Thank you for reminded us all about this error, including “rational” atheists!

  4. I also wonder why European politicians (British, French, German, etc) allowed Croatia to enter EU? I voted against, so as many of us here in Croatia. About 80% of people didn’t want to vote on referendum for EU, but the referendum law says that wins majority of those who voted on referendum. So stupid people are led by a bunch of idiots. I am so sorry for Stevehill that his friend was taken to a catholic hospital (I did not even know that there are catholic hospital here). And I agree that Croatia is a primitive country, unfortunately I have to live here:(. Somehow I am a little proud that I live in one of few towns that stood against this law that discriminate gays(in my town 60% of people voted against). It is so hard to resist to the church, because they have a lot of money, and when you have money you have power to make changes, we other must to figure out how to survive until the first of the month. You would not believe what kind of propaganda church is making here (or perhaps you would). I was never proud, and never “for” this country because it lead so savage war. To resist a primitivism here is very hard because good people does not have money for propaganda to fight back,… they have to eat. :(

  5. I, too, am ashamed because of this referendum in my country. It also saddens me that 73% of voters didn’t even vote.
    Like Modesti said, “It is so hard to resist to the church, because they have a lot of money (…) You would not believe what kind of propaganda church is making here” … 20+ years of Catholic catechism in PUBLIC elementary and high schools are showing results.

    I also hope that, like RDFan said, “things like tourism, student exchanges, business interactions, and other cross-cultural fertilization that will come with Croatia’s EU inclusion. By allowing them into the EU, hopefully, with time, their attitudes to, say, gay marriage rights, will change.”

    Well… one can hope…

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