The foster care bill that has caused disputes in the ruling coalition was voted in on Friday, with 72 members of the 151-seat parliament voting in favour, four against and six abstaining.
MPs of the liberal Croatian People's Party (HNS), a junior partner in the ruling coalition, who said they would not support the bill unless their amendment, under which same-sex and civil-union partners would be able to provide foster care to children, abstained from the vote.
Last week, the parliament rejected HNS’ amendment to the bill.
Before the Friday’s vote, HNS MP Stjepan Curaj called on MPs who had walked out of the session to return and support the HNS amendment.
"The amendment is legal, it is in line with the Constitution and it will enable what is most important – a child's right to a home," said Curaj.
Marija Jelkovac of the ruling centre-right Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) said that the law primarily protected the interests of children, without restricting the rights of same-sex couples, and warned against additionally traumatising children.
"Children are traumatised by domestic abusers and school bullies, not by ordinary people," MP from the largest opposition, Social Democratic Party (SDP), Domagoj Hajdukovic, responded.
The opposition did not take part in the vote in a show of protest against the ruling majority.
The foster care law introduces foster parenting as an occupation, as well as allowances for foster parents who provide care for seriously ill children.
The government expects that these legislative changes will increase interest in foster parenting.