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Croatia: Lawmakers vote to hold referendum on defining marriage

Activists condemn plan as infringement on human rights

Croatian President Ivo Josipovic says he'll vote no in a referendum that seeks to ban gay marriage. Credit:

In an upcoming referendum, Croatians will be asked, "Do you agree that marriage is matrimony between a man and a woman?"

After hundreds of thousands of people signed a petition calling for the referendum, the Croatian parliament granted their wish Nov 8, and the public will vote on the matter Dec 1, The Washington Post reports. According to the report, Croatia's constitution will be amended to effectively ban gay marriage if a majority of voters say yes.

The report notes that the president of Croatia, which became a member of the European Union in July, has indicated that defining marriage is not a matter for the constitution and will vote against amending it.

A member of the conservative HDZ party says it is a question of safeguarding an institution that is "a basis of the Croatian society."

Pink News quotes activist Sanja Juras as saying that a human rights issue such as gay marriage should not be decided by referendum. The Post says there's an appeal against the referendum at the constitutional court.