LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

Croatian marriage referendum: human rights cannot be subjected to majority vote

ILGA-Europe is deeply disappointed by the result of the referendum of 1st December in Croatia which approved a constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union of a man and a woman.

The campaign to define marriage as union of a man and a woman was initiated and promoted by the initiative "In the Name of the Family" which opposes any advance towards recognition of the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people. The group gathered the number of signatures required by the law to initiate such referendum.

ILGA-Europe regrets that the Croatian parliamentarians (104 out of 151) allowed such referendum to take place in the first place.

Gabi Calleja, Co-Chair of ILGA-Europe’s Executive Board, said:

“We are seriously concerned by the fact that opponents to equality for all are using democratic tools to impose majority views on the rights of minority groups.

We believe human rights and issues concerning minority groups cannot and should not be subjected to the popular vote in the first place.

In a democracy, elected officials have a clear responsibility to safeguard human rights of everyone and not to allow democratic tools to be abused to restrict the rights of minority groups.”

According to our Rainbow Europe’s Index (May 2013), Croatia came 13th among 49 European countries in terms of laws and policies affecting the human rights of LGBTI people.