New proposal of the Foster Care Act, currently in the process of public hearing, is not in compliance with the legal framework of Croatia, and if adopted, the Government will expose the Republic of Croatia to lawsuits from its citizens on the grounds of violating the right to equal treatment.
This is not the first time that the Croatian Government created institutional settling for discrimination of same-sex partners. Since 2016, with the opposition’s complete silence, several special regulations that were not in accordance with the Life Partnership Act or other general regulations that prescribe equal treatment of life and marriage companions have been adopted. The examples include: Real Estate Tax Act, Law on the Rights of the Croatian Homeland War Veterans, Law on Local Taxes, and now the Foster Care Act.
The Foster Care Act must be in compliance with the Life Partnership Act, an organic law from 2014, which arranges family and other relationships between life partners. Formal and informal life partners as well as their children and the children under partner-guardianship care, must have equal opportunities in realization of all their rights including all public and private services as married and common-law spouses and their children. Without exceptions.
Croatia was already found guilty by the European Court of Human Rights in 2016 for discrimination of same-sex partners in the case Pajić vs. Republic of Croatia. The Ministry of Internal Affairs ignored Zagreb Pride’s warnings in 2011, and the Parliament voted for the Foreigners Act even though it enabled family reunion exclusively for married and common-law spouses, but it excluded same-sex couples. Since the Republic of Croatia was found guilty in 2016 by the European Court, the Foreigners Act had to be revised and Mrs. Pajić was paid a compensation from the state budget.
Also, according to the words of the Ombudsperson for Children, the main criteria for one’s realization of foster care rights should be competency, motivation and dedication of persons to take care of children in an adequate manner, not their sexual orientation or gender identity. The most important thing is to ensure the best possible care and support in the substitute and foster families, therefore we consider this proposal of the Foster Care Act to be just another attempt of discrimination and violence against our families, headed by right-clerical lobby, which we will not allow. It is about life partners Today, it is about life partners, tomorrow will be about some other socially vulnerable and marginalised group.