The historic court ruling allowing Croatian same-sex couples to become foster parents is an important step forward in upholding rights of LGBTI persons in the country, Croatia's LGBTI association Rainbow Families, which advocates for parenting rights of same-sex couples, said on Friday.
The ruling "confirms all our public statements of the last two years and more and it also confirms what foreign courts, science and other European Union member states have been saying for more than 10 years," the association's representative Daniel Martinovic said.
"The Life Partnership Act clearly says that same-sex couples should be treated in the same way as (heterosexual) married couples, and we are glad that the court has ruled in favour of our members Ivo Segota and Mladen Kozic, who have been explicitly discriminated against by the Ministry of Demography, Family, Youth and Social Policy," he added.
The association noted that this was the first time that a Croatian court judgment had upheld international court practice and judgments by the European Court of Human Rights, ruling that same-sex couples must be treated in the same way as heterosexual couples under the law.
Segota and Kozic are not the only couple whose application to foster or adopt has been rejected by the Ministry of Demography, Family, Youth and Social Policy in the last few years, Martinovic said, adding that their brave public statements and decision to engage in a legal battle set a precedent for other couples wishing to offer a better future to children spending their childhood in homes.
The association invited all same-sex couples facing discrimination in Croatia to contact them and apply for free legal aid. "This historic moment is the first step towards full equality of LGTBI persons in this country and we really couldn't expect a better gift for the coming holidays than this," Martinovic said.
The Zagreb Administrative Court ruled on Thursday that life partners Ivo Segota and Mladen Kozic had the right to foster children and ordered the Ministry of Demography, Family, Youth and Social Policy to repeat the procedure within 60 days and adopt a new, non-discriminatory decision on their case.