ZAGREB, Croatia — Just one day after Croatian’s voted to ban same-sex marriage, a spokesperson for Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said Monday that officials plan to offer civil union legislation that would give same-sex couples in Croatia many of the legal rights currently afforded to heterosexual couples.
On Sunday, Croatians voted 66-34 to amend the country’s constitution to ban same-sex marriage, a major victory for the Catholic Church-backed conservatives in the European Union’s newest nation.
Almost 90% of Croatia’s population of 4.4 million are nominally Roman Catholics.
The referendum also received support from 104 members of Croatia’s 151-seat parliament.
Croatian President Ivo Josipovic said he was disappointed but not surprised by the outcome of the vote. “The referendum result must not be the reason for new divisions,” he warned.
The referendum pitted conservative groups and the church against the government and human rights activists.
Many Croats blame the union, fairly or unfairly, for the nation’s economic woes.
According to the LGBT advocacy group Liga LGBTI, Croatia is ranked 13th out of 49 European countries in its treatment of LGBT people.
Numerous LGBT organizations are active in the country, police and police cadets are now instructed about LGBT rights, and in June, Prime Minister Milanovic’s wife took part in Zagreb’s 12th annual pride parade.