Croatia gets first gay foster parents

Last Updated 07 September 2020, 17:01 IST

A Croatian gay couple fostered two children after a legal battle becoming the first same-sex couple to be granted the right in the largely Catholic country, an activist said Monday.

Croatia, a European Union member since 2013, has seen a gradual liberalisation of gay rights in recent years.

Gay couples have been able to register as life partners since 2014, a status that grants them most of the same rights as married couples.

In February, the top court ruled that gay couples also had the right to foster children -- a matter that was in dispute because they were not included in a 2018 law on the issue.

It paved the way for life partners Ivo Segota and Mladen Kozic from Zagreb to foster children after the bitter legal fight since 2017 during which they were ping-ponged between a social welfare centre, the social policy ministry and the courts.

"Our members Ivo and Mladen are very happy with new members of their household," said Daniel Martinovic, head of Rainbow Families, a group of same-sex parents.

Children arrived in their home a few weeks ago and the official announcement was made by the association on Monday.

"This gives us hope that things in our country can still change," Martinovic said and pledged to fight for a "full marital and family equality" notably the right to adopt children.

"There is no child for whom would be better to spend his childhood in a home for orphans than with the support of adults, including of two men."

In Croatia, where the Catholic Church remains immensely influential, religious groups have campaigned to restrict legislation on abortion access as well as on fostering and adoption for LGBT people.

One opinion poll suggested almost two-thirds of Croatians still oppose same-sex couples fostering children.

The top reason cited was that a child needed both a "mother and father" to be properly raised.

Gay and transgender people still face threats or are forced underground in Croatia and other Balkan nations.

(Published 07 September 2020, 17:01 IST)

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