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Croatians to vote on referendum that would define marriage

Ruling party calls on electorate to reject the move to amend the constitution

Croatians will decide whether they want to have marriage constitutionally defined as a union between a man and a woman in a referendum to be held Dec 1, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA-Europe) says.

The vote got the green light from parliament following a Catholic group's submission of more than 740,000 signatures of people who favour a vote on the referendum question "Do you agree that marriage is matrimony between a man and a woman?"

Ivo Josipovic, the president of Croatia, which became a member of the European Union in July, has indicated that he feels defining marriage is not a matter for the constitution and he will vote against amending it. According to Reuters, members of the country's governing coalition have been urging people to reject a constitutional amendment on marriage, with a number of ministers appearing in a video to say they plan to vote no to the referendum question.

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

Reuters says a recent poll suggests that a majority of people plan to vote for an amendment and notes that the outcome is binding.

ILGA-Europe says it's disapppointed that Croatia's leaders have decided to put the rights of a minority group to a popular vote.