Croatians vote against gay marriage
Thursday, 05 December 2013 11:32

CROATIA used to market itself as holiday destination under the slogan: “The Mediterranean as it once was.” This was meant to conjure up images of pristine beaches and beautiful and historic towns and sights. It was not meant to give an image of country crustily conservative, socially illiberal and pining for a simpler time when being gay was at best kept in the closet and at worst a crime.

On December 1st a referendum showed that a large minority of Croats do in fact long for the old days. Fully 66% approved the proposition:  “Are you in favour of the constitution of the Republic of Croatia being amended with a provision stating that marriage is matrimony between a woman and a man?” The turnout was 38% so the question was approved by a quarter of the electorate.

The referendum was a defeat for the government of Zoran Milanovic, the Social Democratic prime minister who had campaigned hard for a “no” vote. The strange thing about it, however, was that that it came from nowhere. There was no significant debate about gay marriage in Croatia before the campaign. Florian Bieber, a Balkan expert at Graz University, points out here Croatia is rather mainstream, in terms of...Continue reading

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