ZAGREB, November 27, 2018 – The leader of the Croatian People’s Party (HNS) caucus, Milorad Batinić, said on Tuesday that HNS would not support a foster care bill but abstain from voting if its amendment to allow same-sex partners either in a formal or informal life partnership to foster children is not accepted.
He explained that his party had, in the first reading already, sent the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), the senior coalition partner in government, its amendment. “The foster care bill offers many improvements. However, we are a parliamentary democracy and our aim was, through parliamentary debate, for the bill to be amended and improved in order to enable life and informal life partners to have the opportunity to provide foster care,” Batinić said.
He believes that HNS is not sending a dual message due to the fact that its ministers supported the bill in the government while its lawmakers won’t vote for it in parliament. “We have a coalition meeting tomorrow when we will have a concrete response, I hope. The bill will be debated in parliament on Thursday and HNS will present its draft amendment. If the amendment is not supported, we won’t support the bill but abstain,” Batinić said.
He didn’t agree that HNS would, in a way, support the bill as the party will provide a quorum for the ruling party. “That’s your claim. We cannot support the bill if our amendment isn’t accepted. We will abstain because the amendment does provide many improvements that didn’t exist in the past law,” he explained.
“When the foster care bill was put into procedure and during the public consultation, we made our stance known. However, the minister of demography did not acknowledge that. We are using democratic procedure and if our amendment is not upheld, we won’t support the bill,” he said.
Asked whether it was hypocritical of the HNS to endorse the foster care bill in the government but not support it in parliament, he said the “government answers to the parliament for its work.” He didn’t agree that the HNS talks differently in the government and in public, saying that was the impression reporters have and not a fact.
In the meantime, about two hundred Croatian researchers and experts, mostly psychologists, sociologists and pedagogues, who on Tuesday commented on the public disputes regarding same-sex couples being allowed to qualify for foster parenting, say that it is in the best interest of children and parents and society overall to acknowledge and accept the existence of various family forms and relationships in Croatia.
Ahead of the debate on the final draft bill on foster care which doesn’t foresee allowing same-sex couples to qualify for foster parenting, more than 200 experts and professionals said in a joint press release that they support same-sex couples being allowed to be foster carers, underscoring that there is no significant difference in children’s upbringing by homosexual or heterosexual parents.
“We would like to turn attention to the incorrect use or in fact confusion in the definitions of adoption and foster care in the current debates. Foster care is a form of social service which foster carers provide for children who are accommodated with them. Adoption is a form of family-law care and protection of a child without proper parental care,” the experts said.
They believe that it is in the best interest of children and parents and society overall to admit and accept that various family communities and relationships exist in Croatia. “Considering that scientific data provide consistent, mutually compatible empirical data that there is no significant difference in children who grow up in families with homosexual or heterosexual parents, we wish to believe that when Croatian institutions make decisions and regulate procedures, they in fact take into consideration scientific findings and not prejudices and stereotypes,” the press release said.
They also noted long-term, comprehensive research that have not managed to prove that LGBT persons have lesser abilities than heterosexual persons to be parents, nor that the psycho-social development of their children was jeopardised compared to children of heterosexual parents.
For more on the children’s issues in Croatia, click here.