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August 2017 : Religiously (mainly Catholic) inspired NGOs continue to oppose the so-called “gender ideology”

Several religiously (Catholic) inspired non-governmental organizations initiated a vivid public debate and different actions to prevent the Government’s intention to ratify the “Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence” (known also as the “Istanbul Convention”). The main reason for opposition is a phrase “gender” used in the Convention which, according to these organizations, is a non-scientific, ideological term, which in fact negates biological differences between men and women. The term “gender” is described as a part of the so-called “gender ideology”, interpreted as an ideology promoting homosexuality and other “non-traditional” sexual orientations, and which negates the right of parents to educate their children according to “traditional cultural values”.
Similar debates and actions have become much more visible in recent years as religiously oriented individuals and newly created non-governmental organizations have started to actively promote values based on Catholicism, though this mainly takes the form of attacks on what they see as threats to religious values in society. The cornerstone was the action done in 2013 when the newly started organization, “In the Name of Family”, collected enough of citizens signatures to hold the Constitutional referendum on the definition of marriage. Its aim was to prevent the Government from giving additional rights to same-sex partnerships which have existed in Croatia since 2003. The referendum was held on December 1st, 2013 and although only 37.9 % of citizens voted, it was valid according to the law. Due to the referendum results, the Constitution was changed to include the definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Still, the Government passed a new Law on the Life Union of Same-Sex Partnership in 2014, by which they were granted some additional rights, although not the right to adopt children.

D 22 août 2017    ASiniša Zrinščak

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