“Love is what brings together and creates a family. Family is that which loves, respects and accepts. We are that family. Same-sex, different-sex, homosexual and heterosexual… These are all family groups.” (From the Manifesto of the XI. Zagreb Pride March 2012 – We Have a Family! A Millennium of Croatian Dreaming)
The draft of the new Family Law represents a decisive attack on all families in Croatia, and has been written by the representatives of the clerical-right who have been systematically opposing human rights in Croatia for the past five years. The same people who allegedly wanted to protect the institution of marriage in 2013- and thanks to the referendum and the help of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) have introduced the homophobic definition of marriage to the Constitution- are now claiming that even a husband and wife without children are not a family.
This is not the only attack on the human rights of all the people in Croatia, since the Croatian Government, formed by HDZ and HNS (Croatian People’s Party), is systematically removing and deleting all families that are not an opposite-gender marriage with biological offspring from the law (the new set of tax laws, new proposal of the Law on the Rights of Croatian War Veterans, Social Welfare Act, etc.). In the aforementioned changes to the Family Law, we notice the same pattern: only marriage is mentioned, and there is no word about common-law partners, life partnership nor informal life partnership. Therefore, these changes to the law lead us to a worrying conclusion – it is obvious that this is not about the legislators being poorly informed, but about a deliberate attack depriving the existing rights, ie the discrimination of families, life partnerships and extramarital communities.
Zagreb Pride therefore firmly declares that marriage, extramarital community, life partnership and informal life partnership do represent family life. All of these communities are families, as well as single-parent families, families without children, adoptive families and families consisting of grandparents and grandchildren. The family life of life partner, with or without children, is a fact of our society, and no laws, referendums or manipulations can change that. The family life of life partners is protected by the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia, the Constitutional Court and the European Convention on Human Rights. This is confirmed by a series of verdicts, including Pajić v. Croatia.
Given that the Family Law is a fundamental law governing the family, we expect the legislator, in particular the Gender Equality Committee of the Croatian Parliament, but above all the entire Croatian Government and the Ministry of Demographics, Family, Youth and Social Policy to legally recognize life partnerships and couples, and to harmonize legislative proposals with the legal framework of the Republic of Croatia and the European Union.
We as a LGBTIQ community, together with our families, declare that the draft of the new Family Law proposal does not protect families, but attacks them and threatens them. Therefore, we call on everyone to stand up and oppose this violence, which is a threat to the fundamental values of the Croatian society as a whole.