The proposal caused a maelstrom of criticism.
The draft of the new Family Law has been revoked by the government less than 24 hours after it was released for public consultation. The public was shocked by the definition of family in the law, which appeared to claim that married couples without children would not be considered a family, reports Večernji List on September 29, 2017.
It was not clear what would have happened with spouses without children, those whose children have died, foster parents, or relatives who care about children whose parents have died.
Prime Minister Andrej Plenković reacted during the day. “The draft laws will no longer be released to the public consultation process without passing government bodies. Such documents can cause a great deal of attention, at a very early stage of discussions. We need to be much better coordinated at the government level and change the methodology,” said the Prime Minister at the beginning of cabinet’s session on Thursday, asking ministers to “evaluate the acts they plan to release to the public before they are published.”
This is probably why no one at the Ministry of Demography, Family, Youth and Social Policy returned phone calls yesterday, knowing that journalists were calling them to comment on the draft of the new law. Members of the working group which prepared the draft also did not want to comment, and on Thursday afternoon the draft was removed from the government’s website, where it had been available to citizens who wanted to take part in the public consultation process.
It should also be said that this definition of the family is contrary not just to common sense, but also to HDZ’s election manifesto, which specifically said that particular attention would be given to all forms of families, including “spouses who live separately, single-person households, and extramarital unions of men and women with or without children…”.
Before it was withdrawn, the draft law was criticised from many sides. Zagreb Pride noted that the draft only mentioned marriage, and not extramarital unions, life partnerships and informal life partnerships. They accused representatives of the clerical-rightwing groups for influencing the bill.
HNS, which is a key member of the ruling coalition, said they would not support the proposal because it contained a totally unacceptable definition of family.
Many were convinced that the law would probably be changed during the public consultation process and that it would certainly be rejected by the Constitutional Court. Because of this, there is no need to comment on its provisions, said Branka Rešetar, who was the leader of the working group which prepared the current Family Law.
Activist Sanja Sarnavka stated that the draft contained horrific provisions. “The existing law made a step forward in the understanding of the extramarital unions, which are now being deprived of their rights. For example, it is suggested that they can adopt children only in exceptional circumstances, with the obvious intent that this exception should never happen,” said Sarnavka. She also warned that the draft demonstrated a visible influence of rightwing NGOs with regards to the upbringing of children, giving parents the right to make decisions according to their personal convictions. “This is supposed to allow parents to decide that their children will not attend health or sex education,” she pointed out.
Translated from Večernji List.