Croatia – a member of the European Union since July this year – voted yesterday to amend its constitution to ban same-sex marriage. According to preliminary results, approximately 65% of voters (turnout at around 38%) chose to vote in favour of a new definition of marriage as 'between a man and a woman'.
Hannes Swoboda, president of the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament, commented on the vote:
"As democrats, we of course respect the decision of the Croatian voters. But I am deeply disappointed by this outcome. I have come to know Croatia as an open and progressive country, not a country whose people outlaw happiness and equal rights.
"The extreme right and the religious groups that lobbied in favour of this constitutional amendment must urgently confront the reality: LGBT rights, equality and human rights are all part of a bigger concept of fundamental rights and values shared by Europeans. I expect Croatia to share these values, especially now that it is an EU member state.
"I welcome the fact that the government under Zoran Milanović has made clear that it will continue its work to increase the rights of same-sex couples."