As Večernji list reports, after a wedding in another European country, two wives originally from Croatia decided to have ‘proper papers’ in Croatia, too. However, after they were denied an excerpt from the life partnership register, they initiated administrative proceedings to obtain an excerpt they thought they were entitled to. They did this through the permanent legal service of Zagreb Pride and their partner lawyer office, Bandalo & Labavić.
Croatia’s High Administrative Court’s judgment legally confirmed that they were discriminated against in Croatia because the Zagreb registry office did not want to issue them an excerpt from a life partnership but only registered this fact in the form of a birth certificate.
They state that the Life Partnership Act of 2014 clearly stipulates that life partners “have the same procedural rights and status in all judicial and administrative proceedings as spouses “(Article 37, paragraph 4).
“They asked for a document that would have been automatically issued to them if they had entered into a heterosexual marriage, an ordinary wedding certificate. The path to this ‘paper’ went through the administrative court, which gave them the right in the first instance and added that the registry office, by refusing to issue them an excerpt, violated many regulations. Those regulations include the Anti-Discrimination Act, the Constitution of Croatia, the European Convention on Human Rights, the Maastricht Treaty, and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. But in the first place, the Life Partnership Law is not respected, which incorporates the principle of ‘guaranteeing the prohibition of unfavorable treatment’ of life partners in relation to spouses.
The court made it clear that same-sex marriage entered abroad is equated in Croatia with a life partnership. Therefore, there is no reason why they should not be entered in the Life Partnership Register, as a foreign heterosexual marriage would be registered in the marriage register and not as a birth certificate. However, the Ministry of Administration appealed against this decision, rejecting their request for entry in the Life Partnership Register, formally referring to the Instruction on keeping that register, i.e., the lowest level regulation, ignoring the Life Partnership Act, the Anti-Discrimination Act, and the Constitution of Croatia.
The High Administrative Court did not accept this appeal either, stating that ‘the rejection of the request for registration same-sex marriage entered abroad in the life partnership register in Croatia resulted in discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation’. The court pointed out that a heterosexual marriage would be immediately registered in the Croatian Registry of marriages, and that, therefore, as an equivalent, same-sex marriage should be entered in the Life Partnership Register,” the Zagreb Pride said in a statement.
They are happy to “finally prove that they were right from day one and that their same-sex marriage in another country entered in the Croatian Life Partnership Register.”
“This case, as well as last year’s decision of the Constitutional Court which enabled same-sex families to adopt children, clearly shows how outdated and meaningless the constitutional restriction from 2013 is. Until the Constitution’s change, which will equalize all families in all rights and obligations, we will be unnecessarily exhausted in offices and courts. In the end, we would always show that the constitutional provision on the prohibition of same-sex marriage is simply unnatural.
For now, we expect the Ministry of Justice and Administration to urgently amend the disputed part of the Instruction on keeping the life partnership register, in the part that was declared discriminatory in the High Administrative Court,” the statement reads.
To read more news from Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.