Act regarding gay adoption rights splits majority



Zagreb, 270314.
Dijete koje ceka vec cetiri godine na posvajanje zbog spore i lose birokracije, fotografirano u Domu za djecu u Nazorovoj.
Foto: Boris Kovacev / CROPIX
Boris Kovačev / CROPIX

Child in Zagreb's Foster home

The draft Foster Care Act that will be discussed in the Sabor on Thursday presents a big test for the ruling majority. It could be the most challenging test for the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) thus far as the party's main partner, the People's Party (HNS), which replaced the MOST as HDZ's main partner, stressed that it will not support the draft unless its amendment is adopted, but the HDZ does not support the amendment.

The HNS demands that adoption be made available to same-sex couples and informal life partners. Since they disagree, the HDZ announced a meeting with coalition partners today.

Could the HDZ remain alone in the vote on the draft Act? Majority of MOST's caucus and the two 'runaways' from HDZ's caucus - Bruna Esih and Zlatko Hasanbegović - share the opinion of the HDZ. MOST head Božo Petrov was clear when he said that 'children are made, brought up and raised in a physical union between a man and a woman, and the Sabor has to decide on foster care in line with that'.

 However, this does not mean that the MOST will support the HDZ. The party is not inclined to help the Government, noted MOST MP Nikola Grmoja and added that HNS amendment presents 'the height of hypocrisy as its ministers supported the version of the Act where there was no mention of same-sex unions'.


HNS caucus head Milorad Batinić explained the change in stance, stressing that the proposed Act offers 'a series of technical improvements', but needs to be 'mproved' in the second reading. Batinić added that the caucus was against Social Democratic Party (SDP)'s amendment on same-sex unions because it was lacking, stressing that the SDP forgot about informal life partners. The Independents for Croatia (NH) agree ideologically with the HDZ, but warned that "if the HDZ cares about our votes, it will ask for our input. If the party does not care, the Act will not be passed and that will be it - let others draw it up', noted NH's Hasanbegović.

If the HNS and minority deputies do not change their minds, the HDZ will have to rely on Mayor of Zagreb Milan Bandić's caucus, the Democratic Christian Party (HDS) caucus, the Social-Liberal Party (HSLS) caucus and the Democratic Alliance of Slavonia and Baranja (HDSSB) caucus, which will be difficult as the party cannot count on unanimous support there. The Act is on thin ice as those in favor or against it are not clearly divided along party lines.

The HDZ cannot count on Deputy Speaker of Sabor Furio Radin's vote even though he is part of the ruling majority. Radin revealed that he absolutely supports the HNS: 'The goal should be to empty orphanages and give children a chance to be loved - that is what family means for me, irrespective of whether the family is traditional or a same-sex union. We should treat both types equally when it comes to adoption. As a psychologist, I know that happiness and sexual orientation of children do not vary across same-sex and traditional unions'. We should expect the same from Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) president Milorad Pupovac as well as independent MPs Bojan Glavašević, Mirando Mrsić and Marko Vučetić, who announced supporting the amendment.


Bandić's caucus is interesting. For instance, Darinko Dumbović is undecided. Even though his personal option is that 'everyone should have equal opportunity', he said he will try to take a side at the meeting today. 'When it comes to our caucus, it is difficult to find complete agreement. We will try to reach an agreement peacefully today. We are more interested in what is happening in our counties, my priorities are issues in the Sisak-Moslavina County', said Dumbović.

Former SDP member Zdravko Ronko still does not know which side to support. He noted that he is still learning the details and reminded that he was one of the more conservative members of the SDP, but stressed that 'this does not mean that he will vote against or in favor'.

Connection with Bandić angers him as he is in Bandić's caucus for technical reasons, rather than common ideology. HSLS caucus member Branko Hrg, colleague of Darinko Kosor, Branimir Glavaš and Goran Dodig, pointed out that one thing is certain: 'Dodig and I will not vote for HNS' amendment because I believe marriage is a union between a man and a woman. We allow heterodoxy in the caucus'.

Majority of opposition MPs will support HNS' amendment. Istrian Democratic Congress (IDS) president Boris Miletić believes that 'everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, should be allowed equal status and equal opportunity'. GLAS president Anka Mrak Taritaš's caucus has five members including Pensioners' Party (HSU) president Silvano Hrelja. She said ironically that she hopes the HNS will support GLAS' amendments aimed at allowing same-sex couples to adopt. Could this present a precedent - will the Act be rejected? That is unlikely. 'Considering the blackmailing and trading coalition, this will not happen', predicted Anka Mrak Taritaš.

The HDZ will not take chances for sure. If the party feels that the Act might not pass, it will probably opt for delaying it.