Reactions to Foster Care Decision Range from Joy to Condemnation

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, February 7, 2020 – The We Can! platform and a same-sex couple who wants to foster a child said on Friday they were pleased with a Constitutional Court decision under which everyone is entitled to foster under equal terms, while In the Name of the Family and Vigilare said it was bad for children and the judiciary.

Earlier today, the Constitutional Court published a decision in which it concludes that courts and relevant bodies have the duty to enable everyone to participate in “the public service of foster care” under equal terms. The court reached the conclusion after considering motions for the assessment of the constitutionality of three Foster Care Act articles which numerous political parties, associations and individuals claimed discriminate against same-sex partners.

Sandra Benčić, a member of the We Can! political platform, told Hina the Constitutional Court’s decision followed the practice of the European Court of Human Rights under which there must be no discrimination based on sexual orientation in foster care and family life.

Benčić said the court found that the Foster Care Act had provision that could be discriminatory but did not repeal it, instead giving clear instructions on how to interpret the law so that it did not have discriminatory effects.

Benčić has sued the head of the Zagreb Social Welfare Centre, Tatjana Brozić Perić, for refusing to enforce the Administrative Court ruling which allowed Šegota and Kozić to apply for foster care.

The president of the conservative In the Name of the Family NGO, Željka Markić, said the Constitutional Court, “as a political body” of the ruling HDZ and opposition SDP parties, had overstepped its authority and delivered a decision that was harmful for children without parents and for democracy.

Speaking to Hina, Markić said the court confirmed the Foster Care Act was in line with the constitution and not discriminatory, and that the Zagreb Social Welfare Centre had rejected the homosexual couple’s fostering application in line with the law, but still ordered the judiciary and administration bodies to interpret the law contrary to what it said.

Markić said the decision was harmful to children without parents whose best interest, she added, was not to be fostered or adopted by homosexual couples.

She said the decision was also “very dangerous” for democracy as the Constitutional Court, instead of repealing the Foster Care Act, if it considered it anti-constitutional and discriminatory, and returning it to parliament for further procedure which would include public and scientific consultations, had assumed the role of legislator.

The Vigilare NGO said the Constitutional Court had acted unlawfully, overstepping its authority and damaging Croatia’s legal system. “They suspended the rule of law, usurping the powers of the Croatian parliament as the highest legislative body,” it said in a press release.

Vigilare said the decision was against children’s interest and another step towards “the deconstruction of the family and moral values” in Croatia.

More news about LGBT issues can be found in the Politics section.


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